With most of us spending an average of over 90,000 hours at work in our lifetime it is no wonder that a poor work environment can affect our mental health. Work-related mental ill-health is estimated to be costing businesses up to £26 billion every year, so we need to make sure we take care of our employees’ mental health.With most of us spending an average of over 90,000 hours at work in our lifetime it is no wonder that a poor work environment can affect our mental health. Work-related mental ill-health is estimated to be costing businesses up to £26 billion every year, so we need to make sure we take care of our employees’ mental health.
Recent research from charity Mind found that 42% of the people surveyed admitted that they had considered resigning and 14% had actually resigned due to workplace stress. These staggering statistics show that there is clearly more than needs to be done in many workplaces around the country, but it isn’t because employers don’t care. In the same survey 56% of employers said that they would like to do more to improve staff well being but don’t feel they have the right training or guidance.
So here are a few areas you can get started on:
1. Promote Wellbeing
Open & Honest Conversations
Ensuring that you have open and honest conversations with your employees is fundamental to empowering them to speak up if they have a problem.
Listen & Act
It’s no good having these open and honest conversations if nothing comes from them. If an employee has raised an issue they need to be listened to, otherwise they will be very reluctant to come forward again.
This term is thrown around a lot, but a good work life balance is essential for your employees to be on top form. If they feel trapped by the workplace and feel they don’t get the time they need to spend with their family or have the downtime they need, they will start to resent the workplace, and this can cause mental health to deteriorate.
2. Tackle the Causes
Knowing the state of their mental health will highlight any areas that need improving and will allow you to act early, rather than wait for the issue to grow.
Training for Managers
There are many training courses that are available around the country. Charity, Mind, offer a variety of training courses from e-learning to courses held at your own office. Plus, remember that it is the managers in your business who spend the most time with their teams and will be the first to spot the signs should a problem arise.
Keep Triggers under Control
There are many triggers that you can keep an eye on that are often the main culprits of causing mental health problems in the workplace. These are:
- Long hours, no breaks
- Unrealistic deadlines or expectations
- Overly pressurised working environment
- Poor internal communication
- Lone working
- Poor physical working environment
- Difficult interpersonal relationships
- Poor managerial support
- Inability to use annual leave
Time for the Open Conversations
It is all too easy to get busy and neglect the one to one time that some employees need. They may not want to bother their manager out of the blue but given the opportunity, on a one to one basis, they may feel more able and comfortable to come forward with their feelings and any issues they may have.
3. Supporting Employees with Mental Health Problems
Keep in Touch
Even if someone is absent from work due to their mental health make sure you keep in touch with them, not in a ‘keeping tabs’ way but in a caring ‘hope they’re ok’ kind of way.
They Know Best
Focus on the person and not the problem. Talk to them and ask how you can help. They are an expert on their own mental health and are best placed to know what it is that will help. Equally, if they cannot pinpoint the issue straight away, it may help them to talk through their feelings with someone to try to make it clearer.
Outside of Work
Remember that work isn’t the be all and end all. Your employees have a life outside of work and it may be something in their personal life which is causing their mental health to suffer. They may not feel comfortable to tell work colleagues or a manager but providing the support network in case they do want to talk could be just what they need to help them through a difficult time.
People can recover from mental health problems. Just because they have had a problem in the past doesn’t mean they will always struggle with their mental health. Having said that, everyone is different, and people can go on to manage their mental health issues alongside a successful career.
From boosting productivity, efficiency and innovation to reducing sickness, presenteeism and staff turnover, the benefits of mentally healthy staff are endless. Supporting and taking care of your employees’ mental health is definitely something that should be on the radar of any recruitment business owner. We have covered a few ways which you, as the business leader, can help and encourage a work culture and environment that promotes good mental health, but if you require any further guidance or advice please visit the sources below: