Encouraging Mental Wellbeing at Work
With open discussion of mental wellbeing still being somewhat of a taboo, how can you get your staff to open up?
With 1 in 4 adults experiencing mental health issues, mental wellbeing is fast becoming a key issue in the world of work. However, there remains an unspoken rule that personal issues, especially those surrounding mental wellbeing, should not be openly discussed. This is especially true in the workplace, with only 53% of employees feeling as though they could approach their employer to discuss mental health related issues.
Mental Health Days
When calling in sick for a physical problem, employees are more often than not treated with sympathy and understanding. However, with 1 in 6.8 people experiencing mental health problems in the workplace (14.7%) in the UK; it is evident that there needs to be more sympathy for taking time off – even if the time off is to simply give your mind a break.
At the end of the day, no one is immune to mental health issues and they aren’t great for business. HR magazine found that per year, 70 million working days are lost due to mental health related symptoms, which ultimately costs the economy between £70 and £100 billion every year. With the encouragement to speak openly with your co-workers and peers, the access to advisors within the workplace and the general decrease in stigma; mental health can become less of a burden on businesses. Employees are the heart and soul of a company, so it is crucial that employers pay attention to their needs.
Work Life Balance
The monotony of working every day can be gruelling for all of us, but to people who are struggling with mental health, this can be all the more tiring. According to OfficeVibe, the average work week has increased significantly since the 1970’s while the average leisure time has decreased by 37%.
Employers need to encourage a good work life balance for their employees. Working long hours, is all well and good, but if you have no time for yourself, eventually this will catch up with you. Even something as simple as offering cinema and shopping discounts to your employees is a step in the right direction. Alternatively, other services like gym memberships, spa days and family days out can all contribute to healthy respite.
Productivity Without Stress
Alongside the financial losses that may come with mental health in the workplace, productivity also suffers. Be that as it may, this can add pressure to an employee when they need to take time off, which evidently is counterproductive. Companies can do many things to encourage their employees to excel without excess stress, including investing in wellbeing benefits and other similar resources. According to the Financial Times, the average number of annual working days per staff member lost to absenteeism or presenteeism (where employees come to work but are not productive) has risen from 23 to 30 days. The incentive and motivation of rewards has proven to decrease this number.
Workplace health and wellbeing programmes not only have a positive effect on employees wellness, they have also been proven to increase the overall engagement levels of your workforce.
A report from Personal Group explained that engaged employees are 12% more productive, and can lead to a staggering 270% higher return on investment.
Although the stigma surrounding mental health exists almost everywhere; it’s time to take the workplace out of the equation. With work being where we spend roughly 73% of our time each year, it is imperative that your employees feel comfortable bringing their whole selves with them.