We’ve all been in office meetings where backhanded comments are made related to an employees mental state. “Man up” “Depressive” “Acting like a child” are quotes we could attribute to a whole host of ex bosses & colleagues.
This wasn’t at a time where mental health policy didn’t exist. It was a time where there were learning modules, meetings and workshops all dedicated to mental health. Companies can shout all they like about how forward thinking they are on this front but until it is instilled into the very fabric from top to bottom, nothing will change.
According to Mind 21% of people agreed that they had called in sick to avoid work when asked how workplace stress had affected them. 30% of staff disagreed with the statement 'I would feel able to talk openly with my line manager if I was feeling stressed'.
These people aren’t just the reason your business is successful, they are humans with their own stresses, emotions, and issues inside and outside of the workplace. Understanding this and working with them to better their mental health will create a happier, contented workforce and in turn improve your businesses performance.
So how can you take steps to help your employees?
Line managers play an important role in supporting employee mental health and wellbeing. But it can be hard to know where to start. You might find it helpful to think about how things are in your team at the moment and what can affect ones mental health.
It’s also important to look inside yourself. How do you feel?
What you can do
Develop an approach to mental health at work that protects and improves mental health for every employee from the bottom up, support those people who experience distress.
Commit to reviewing the way you do business to ensure your everyday working culture is as mentally healthy as possible.
Make evidence based mental health promotion tools like mindfulness and exercise available to all staff.
Give people positive reasons to disclose by establishing a culture that values authenticity and openness – this should be led from the top of the organisation.
Regular staff surveys and other research to build data about staff mental health, using findings to plan and deliver action and inform workplace policies.
Give people positive reasons to disclose their feelings by establishing a culture that values authenticity and openness.
What difference will you see?
An increase in staff retention, most happy employees who feel engaged, valued and looked after will not want to leave your business.
An increase in Productivity, with less stresses and issues to keep their mind occupied, staff with positive mental health will focus more on their day to day working responsibilities.
A reduction in company costs, a mental health programmes will give you return on investment. You will also cut the cost of staff turnover and better productivity generally equals higher business revenue.
In conclusion, mental wellbeing is absolutely integral to the success of any business so the happiness of your employees must be a key business strategy. If you aren’t taking this seriously or have no mental health support or policies in place then look at getting a mental health programme introduced.