How you can support your team
Mental Health problems are one of the leading causes of employee sickness in the workplace (both in manual and non-manual roles), with 70 million work days lost, costing employers about £2.4 billion each year.
It should come as no surprise that happy people are more efficient workers. A recent study has shown that 80% of mental illness sufferers find it difficult to concentrate, that 62% take longer to do tasks, that 57% struggle balancing multitasking.
So how can we make them happy?
Employee expectations are changing, so how do we create an engaging and happy work environment? A survey of 2000 workers found that 38% of British workers wouldn’t talk openly about their mental health in case it affected their job security, with 45% saying that they would make up a physical ailment rather than admit that their absence was linked to mental health.
With 20% of workers saying they have seen mental health used against co-workers, and 11% having experienced it against themselves, is it any surprise that they try to keep it hidden?
Cultivate an open and understanding environment
If people feel that their mental health is valued and believed just as much as their physical health, they will feel more at ease being open and honest about it.
If you have honest reasons for absence, you can look for patterns and decipher if it is a work issue causing poor mental health.
Checklist for Employers
The Mental Health Foundation has created a checklist for employers to promote healthy mental health practices within the workplace, including:
- training opportunities for line managers on how to support staff with mental health problems as well as stress management across the board
- reasonable adjustments to a person’s work pattern to remove barriers and allow them to stay in work
- mental health embedded in company policies which recognise the mental health needs and well-being of staff
- senior leaders responsible for leading mental health activities, such as mental health awareness sessions, with all managers engaged in the activity
- regular staff surveys to build data about staff mental health, using findings to plan and deliver action and inform workplace policies
- encourage staff to report discrimination or harassment they face and to blow the whistle on discrimination they witness
- endorse national and local anti-stigma initiatives like See Me.
Training is essential. 56% of employees want to change how staff well-being is handled but feel that they don’t have the right training or skills. Raising awareness and spotting the signs of poor mental health can be the first steps. Download our image for your office.
By accessing advice on sites like www.mind.org and www.mentalhealth.org.uk you can build an environment where mental health is valued, discussed, and supported, leading to a happier, more productive workforce avoiding burnout and stress.
(Checklist from www.mentalhealth.org.uk)
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