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Prioritising Mental Health in the Modern Workplace

In recent years, mental health awareness campaigns led by national and international organisations have paved the way for open conversations about mental health issues. They've encouraged individuals to share their experiences, with the goal of creating a universal culture of support and understanding. While significant progress has been made, there's still much work to be done.

Fittingly, this year's World Mental Health Day theme, "Mental Health is a Universal Human Right," underscores the importance of ensuring that everyone, regardless of their circumstances, has access to mental well-being.

A Snapshot of Mental Health in the Workplace

Recent studies, including one conducted by the Mental Health Foundation, have sounded the alarm about workplace stress and mental health challenges. Shockingly, 14% of individuals have left their jobs due to workplace stress, and 30% have taken time off work due to mental health concerns. These statistics emphasise the urgent need for organisations to address mental health issues head-on:

  1. Around 51% of long-term sick leave in the UK is due to stress, depression, or anxiety. 
  2. 64% of managers have considered quitting for a job that would better support their well-being. 
  3. 70% of managers cited organisational barriers to supporting staff wellbeing, including company policy, heavy workload, unsupportive workplace culture, and not being equipped with the right skills. 
  4. 1 in 5 UK workers reported feeling unable to manage stress and pressure in the workplace. 
  5. 29% of managers said 'more support and training' from their employer would help them to support other team members with mental health and well-being issues.
Why Prioritising Mental Health Matters
  • Promoting Employee Well-being: The foundation of a thriving workplace is employee well-being. Poor mental health can significantly impact an employee's mood, productivity, and overall quality of life. Proactively supporting mental health helps employees maintain their well-being, reduce stress, and enhance their overall quality of life.

  • Boosting Productivity: Good mental health is closely linked to increased productivity, creativity, and job satisfaction. When employees feel valued and supported, they become more engaged in their work, resulting in improved organisational performance.
  • Reducing Absenteeism and Presenteeism: Mental health challenges often lead to absenteeism (employees missing work) and presenteeism (being at work but not fully productive). Prioritising mental health support can significantly reduce both, leading to improved performance and productivity.
  • Legal and Moral Responsibility: Organisations have a legal and moral obligation to ensure the health and safety of their employees, including their mental health. This means they must do all they reasonably can to support their employees' health, safety and well-being. This includes making sure the working environment is safe, protecting staff from discrimination, and carrying out risk assessments. Neglecting mental health concerns can have legal and financial consequences and harm an organisation's reputation.

Supporting Employee Mental Health

To create a workplace that champions mental health, organisations can implement a number of initiatives. Here is just an example of what we believe can make a positive difference:

  • Effective Work Processes and Role Profiles: Ensure work processes and role profiles are designed with a clear understanding of what "good" entails. Assess whether deadlines, resource allocations, and workloads are realistic.
  • Manager-Employee Relationships: Encourage meaningful connections between managers and team members. Invest in planned one-on-one meetings, including return-to-work discussions after absences, encouraging conversations about feelings and thoughts beyond just an employee's task lists.
  • Authentic Role Modeling in a Supportive Environment: Lead by example. Both you and your managers should embody the behaviours you wish to see in your teams. Commit to establishing and maintaining a genuinely safe and supportive workplace environment that nurtures positive well-being. 
  • Access to Support Resources: Ensure that information on available support resources is readily accessible to all your staff.
  • Openness and Transparency: Be as open and transparent as possible about issues that impact or have the potential to affect your organisation's well-being.
  • Fair and Respectful Treatment: Implement policies and procedures that demonstrate fair, respectful treatment of your employees. Ensure both legal compliance and genuine support.
  • Promoting Work-Life Balance: Encourage a healthy work-life balance by offering flexible working arrangements and motivating employees to use their annual leave.

💡Did you know, in a survey conducted by Censuswide over 60% of UK workers didn’t take all of their holiday allowance? This means that over 18 million of the UK’s 29.7 million workers didn’t take the amount of leave they were entitled to in 2022.

Long-term Commitment to Sustaining Mental Well-being

Supporting employee mental health should be an ongoing initiative, beyond World Mental Health Day. Here are some long-term steps organisations can take:

  • Crafting a Wellbeing Strategy: Identify key factors affecting mental health, such as workload, communication, and culture. Develop tailored initiatives to address these areas.
  • Training Managers and Staff: Smart training builds awareness, reduces stigma, and increases understanding of mental health issues. It empowers managers and staff to identify signs of poor mental health and cultivate an inclusive workplace culture.
  • Measuring Progress: Regularly tracking metrics like absenteeism, turnover rates, job satisfaction, and conducting surveys for feedback helps identify areas needing additional support and measures the effectiveness of interventions.

The HR Duo Difference

At HR Duo, we don't just talk the talk; we walk the walk. We empower business owners and HR managers to focus on creating workplaces that genuinely support their employees' mental health and well-being. Our advanced HR solutions automate essential tasks, granting you the freedom to invest your time and energy in creating a mentally healthy and thriving workforce.

Prioritising mental health in the workplace isn't just a nice-to-have; it's a strategic must-have. By establishing the right processes and structures, you create an environment that benefits your employees and propels your business to new heights. 

Invest in your people's well-being, and watch your organisation flourish. Request a free demonstration. 

Our sources, your further reading:

  1. Work-related stress, anxiety or depression statistics in Great Britain, 2022. 
  2. As workforce well-being dips, leaders ask: What will it take to move the needle?
  3. Burnout
  4. Survey shows managers are ‘out of their depth’ on mental health


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