Mental Health in the Workplace – The Facts:
300,000 people who have a long-term mental health problem lose their jobs each year
54 Billion pounds is the annual cost to employers
Over half the cost due to Presenteeism. i.e. when individuals are less productive due to poor mental health in work
£1 = £9.98 return on investment for mental health training
3X MORE likely to have a long-term period of sickness
Overall rate of sickness absence since 2009 is DOWN 15%-20%
Absence due to mental health reasons since 2009 UP by 5%
How to encourage a mentally healthy workplace:
Accessible support and resources
We believe mental training should be mandatory in the workplace. This should start with a risk assessment to identify where in the business there are room for improvements and then put in place a bespoke strategy to meet the needs of your workforce. In doing so you will identify the key areas where you team need training.
Having a Mental Health First Aider or Mental Health champion in your workplace is essential in making sure your employees know who they can go to in a crisis or if they just need some advice. Mental Health First Aiders can spot assess and guide anyone with a developing mental health issue and ensure they receive the relevant help they need. This is all done in confidence and at their own pace unless the situation is urgent and needs to be escalated.
We all have access to Mente which is an online mental health tech platform which provides ongoing e learning, accessible and research driven material so that you know you aren’t just ticking a box. They provide cost effective and high-quality support to every single member of our team which is especially important if your team isn’t solely based in your office. Mente can be accessed anywhere on any device and is part of our mission to continually improve the wellbeing of our team.
Open Communication and Meetings:
Open communication leads to a happier workplace, but this doesn’t just stop at workload or daily tasks. Having conversations with your employees and colleagues is essential in making sure that your workplace is always a safe space to discuss your mental health and wellness and that wellbeing in the workplace is a top priority. Breaking down the stigmas surrounding mental health is key in ensuring that your team feel just as comfortable discussing their mental health issue as they do discussing their physical ones. Having regular meetings to monitor employee progression and well-being is key. Monitoring your employees through regular check up’s and meetings is important in ensuring that they are dealing with their workload, whether they are meeting their targets, and to explore possible reasons if they are not meeting their targets. Appraisals are a great thing to do but having something more regular would allow for better monitoring and spotting potential triggers in someone if they are struggling.
The benefits of all of this are increased motivation, commitment and productivity within your team as well as the ease of knowing they are valued in the workplace and can always have open communications with you.
If you or your employee feel like they will be more productive with their time on certain projects or deadlines working flexibly, then have that conversation with them. Encourage working from home or days out of the office to change up their routine and avoid over working or burnout. It is understandable that this isn’t the option for all workplaces but making sure employees know that they can take a break or speak to you about their workload concerns is a great step forward. Everyone works best in different ways and so its important to establish how to make your team happy.
Putting these into Practice:
- Take 5 minutes at the start of the day to ask how your employees are feeling and let them share as much as they would like to share. After a while, talking about mental health and wellbeing will be second nature to your team and it will be easier to spot people who need help and support
- Look into training courses you can send your team on or invest in. Mente is a great way for your team to learn about the different ways mental health can impact us. MHFA training can be done by sending individuals to a course or it can be done in your workplace for your whole team.
- Organise meetings with your team at a time and pace that suits them and let them know that the meeting will be a safe space where they can talk in confidence about anything troubling them. It might be beneficial doing this in a less formal setting such as going out for lunch or a local park to get out of the office setting.
- Have a look at ways in which you can introduce flexible working into your workplace. This can be anything from introducing team meetings away from the office to having your employees work remotely on certain days. If your employees aren’t needed in the office every day, you can work out a timetable in which they can do certain amounts of work out of the office if they work better that way.
- Utilise the resources your workplace has given you and make the most of them. Suggest that your workplace assists you in becoming a Mental Health First Aider or takes the initiative to get their employees trained.
- Suggest ways in which you and your colleagues can keep the conversation open about Mental Health by checking up on each other. This can be anything from asking them how their weekend was to organise a catch up after work if they don’t yet feel comfortable discussing it in work hours. If your manager is encouraging open communication, then this should get easier with time.
- If you have a large workload that you feel you’d be more productive with at home, suggest this to your manager. If your role means that you can’t have full days at home, ask if you can go to a café or library in the area. Having time where you know you can work to your best ability out of the office is better than lower productivity or burnout.