In Q4 2017, the British government published a report called Thriving at Work. It highlights that over 300,000 employees with long-term mental health issues have to leave their jobs each year.
Such alarming statistics indicate why supporting staff through their mental health struggles has to be a central part to your business strategy. The message is clear—if you promote a sound wellness scheme, your staff will be happier and more productive.
In 2014, the World Health Organisation (WHO) stated:
“Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”
The key elements to poor mental health include absenteeism, ineffective presenteeism, and a lack of career progression. For a business, the effects are an increased workload for the rest of your workforce, a high staff turnover, and loss of annual revenue.
Elsewhere, the UK Workplace Wellbeing Study also found that:
“Mental health in the workplace [is] the second biggest challenge facing employers in the next five years, with respondents stating that over a quarter (26 percent) of workplace absences were due to mental ill health.”
Employees struggling with mental health issues may have trouble sleeping, suffer from low energy levels, depression, anxiety, negative lifestyle habits (eating or drinking too much), and other often debilitating issues (this NHS piece highlights many more common signs).
But with the social stigma of mental health issues clearing, businesses are now aware of the need to tackle the problem with support schemes and well-being programmes.
Making a Difference
If you’re unsure where to start, HR advice can be sought after to improve the situation. By adapting your working environment, whether this an office or otherwise, and offering support to your employees, you can limit the issues mental health creates.
A working environment places staff under significant stress with their cognitive and psychological skills. To function properly within a job, every respective staff member should have sound mental health support to function within their role.
Employers should look to create an environment that is physically and mentally healthy. The reasons behind this are as follows:
• Enhancing your business’ reputation: With the social stigma of mental health lifting, employees are now looking for an environment where they will receive support. This is particularly true for Millennial’s and upcoming Generation Z employees, who are more likely to have anxiety and depression. This can help future-proof your recruitment strategy, too, to ensure you’re able to attract top talent over the coming decade.
• Improve productivity: By challenging mental health issues, you should see an increase in your business’ performance. With your staff supported and able to function better with their day-to-day activities, absenteeism and departures can drop and you can stay focused on building your business.
• Mental health benefits: Remember, also, that good mental health can lead to overall positive health for your staff. A better diet, more focus on exercise, better sleep. They can all lead to improved productivity.
The Steps Your Business Can Take
Here are some ideas you can introduce that will take the stress off your staff. It can all be part of an employee assistance programme (EAP) that can have far reaching effects for your staff. Your programme could include:
• More focus on a better work/life balance.
• Flexible working hours.
• Free gym membership.
• Healthy office perks: free coffee, tea, and fruit.
• Improving your business culture to be inclusive, open, and supportive.
With this at the core of your business strategy, the long-term results can see your productivity soaring. Remember, people run businesses—while making money is essential to your daily operation, you can improve your annual earnings by ensuring your workforce is functioning at its very best.