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Promoting Employee Wellbeing in the Workplace

Employee wellbeingLast year, the Health and Safety Executive reported that the estimated number of workers in Great Britain suffering a work-related illness is 1.8 million with stress, depression, and anxiety making up around half of cases.

With mental health being cited as a significant cause for work-related illness, businesses must invest in mental health and wellbeing support to encourage personal and organisational growth and to attract and retain talent in the future.

All employers have a duty of care to support the health and wellbeing of their staff and it’s vital that companies take their responsibilities seriously and have processes in place to support those struggling.

Below are key steps employers can take to provide meaningful support.

Promote Work-Life Balance
Discourage long working hours, promote regular breaks, and encourage employees to use their annual leave. Encouraging mindful, self-care practices such as yoga or meditation can also be hugely benefit in promoting a healthy-work life balance.

Implementing flexible office arrangements, such as remote working or shorter weeks also promotes a work-life balance and helps to reduce stress. Employees may feel like they have a greater sense of freedom to complete tasks outside of the office, which can help boost productivity.

Normalise Mental Health Discussions 
Often employees are hesitant to tell their manager about mental health challenges meaning that issues can spiral.

It is important for employers to show their teams that mental health concerns are something they are aware of, and that mental health can be discussed without judgement or stigma. The first step companies should take is to develop and communicate mental health policies that support wellbeing. This could include guidelines for reasonable accommodations, mental health leave, and the process for seeking support or accessing resources.

Conduct channels for regular catchups and one to ones with employees to talk about how they are feeling, there should be options for anonymous conversations too, such as using suggestion boxes. It is important to address concerns and create a supportive feedback loop to understand and respond to employees’ needs.

Creating a supportive culture will mean that over time, employees will feel more comfortable talking about their mental health. It will also build up people’s confidence to speak up earlier and get the help they need sooner.

Educate & Raise Awareness
With most of us suffering from stress, anxiety, and depression at some point in our lives, increasing awareness and educating staff members around the topic is important. Investing in mental health workshops for example helps to tackle stigma, creates an open culture, and addresses common challenges. Workshops also help managers to implement strategies for self-care and build their own confidence to address concerns.

By providing training to managers on mental health will help them understand the signs of mental health symptoms and feel confident in having sensitive conversations.

Following these simple tips will help you retain vital staff members and highlight to prospective employees that you are a company who cares. With applicants indicating that mental health policies of a potential employer are important when looking for a new role, it has never been more crucial to place mental health high on the agenda.[1]

[1] https://www.robertwalters.co.uk/content/dam/robert-walters/country/united-kingdom/files/whitepapers/the-importance-of-mental-health-strategies-in-attracting-top-talent.pdf 

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