In recent years, mental health in the workplace has become a major focus, and with the COVID-19 pandemic causing a spike in many people’s anxiety, monitoring and supporting mental health at work has never been more important.
When the government ordered a national lockdown a year ago, many employment routines immediately shifted – and individuals were left feeling uneasy as a result of an increase in remote work, self-isolation, and health-related worry. The pandemic also aggravated existing mental health difficulties for many more.
Mental health at work is one of the primary reasons for absenteeism in the UK workplace.
Research studies also provide strong evidence that companies with high levels of mental health awareness are more successful. According to research by University of Warwick, addressing wellbeing at work increases productivity by up to 12%.
Placing importance on the mental health of employees can help with:
There are a number of things that you can do as an employer to help promote a workplace that prioritises mental health and takes it seriously. Some of these include;
Mind has reported that one in five adults in the UK felt they couldn’t tell their boss if they felt overly stressed at work, and less than half of people diagnosed with a mental health problem had told their manager.
Perhaps the most important thing an employer should do to combat this is to foster a culture of openness around mental health. This will ensure employees receive support as soon as possible before it develops into a serious problem.
To do this, organisations should make it clear that mental health will be treated the same as physical health, and employees will not be discriminated against. Managers should feel approachable around mental health issues, knowing where to point employees if they’re in need.
While culture change is slow, it’s a crucial step and will help employees feel confident when discussing their mental health and wellbeing.
According to mental health charity Mind, 56% of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don’t feel they have the right training or guidance.
Mental Health First Aid teaches you how to aid someone who is having a mental health crisis. You will master risk factors and warning signs for mental health difficulties, as well as tactics for helping someone in both crisis and non-crisis circumstances and where to get treatment.
St John Ambulance runs a 2 day mental health first aid course – where successful participants will be awarded the FutureQuals Level 3 Award in Mental Health: Workplace First Aider qualification. This means they are suitably able to identify those who require mental health support and the confidence to offer assistance when required.
Employers have a ‘duty of care’ – meaning they must do all they reasonably can to support their employees’ health, safety and wellbeing. Putting in place a policy lays forth guidelines for preventing and treating mental illnesses, as well as encouraging mental health at work.
Just a few examples of what should be included in a policy include:
If an employee has opened up about their mental health, it may be that they are in need of reasonable adjustments at work to give them the necessary support.
These adjustments can be simple and cost-effective, such as:
These are just some of the steps you can take to address mental health struggles – you may have to test and trial different approaches before you find the one that works for each individual.
We provide dynamic office space that caters to all types of businesses and ways of working so that your business can ensure employees are happy, engaged and productive. Allowing employees to work flexibly, from office spaces that spark creativity, can help to promote positive mental health.