Mental health in the workplace has been given a lot of airtime in recent years, and rightly so. Each year more than 300,000 people lose their jobs due to mental health issues when the right intervention at the right time could have helped them thrive. Mental health and work is something that employers need to take extremely seriously for the wellbeing of their staff and business.
For years the stigma around mental health was a barrier to it being addressed in the workplace. But this is changing. Recent research has found that 88% of employers and 87% of employees agree that it is OK not to feel OK at work.
However, people still prefer to discuss mental health issues with people outside of work than to bring it up with their employer. This raises the question about why and how you can help employees struggling with their mental health.
A government report into mental health has given business owners plenty of guidance on how to address this, making wellbeing at work even less of a taboo topic.
Here’s some of the actions employers can take from this report in order to make their workplace more supportive and understanding:
Employees with mental health issues will be much happier about discussing them if there is already a culture of openness within your organisation. Hearing senior managers discussing mental health in a positive way and pointing people to the support available will make them feel more comfortable about talking about their own feelings.
Offering a range of flexible working options and even making it known that it’s OK to take time off when your mental health requires it, will help to create a positive working environment for your staff.
Line manager training
Make sure your senior staff meet regularly with their teams, offering one-to-ones and annual appraisals as well as an open door policy for those who need to speak ad hoc. They should also be able to identify when someone is showing signs of stress and know how your company can help.
Employee Assistance Programme
As an employer, you should be able to offer in-house or external support to your employees in the form of counselling and advice on a wide range of work and personal issues. These could be problems at home, a relationship on the rocks the worry of retirement or debt – all common life occurrences that can adversely effect mental health.
Being aware of your employees’ mental health issues will help your staff remain in work and well, increase their productivity and reduce presenteeism. It’s also an important recruitment and retention tool for top performing staff and will make you a more desirable employer.
Ocean Edge offers recruitment consultancy services to the affordable housing sector. We have teams in London and Southampton who are ready to help you recruit to your organisation. Contact us at Ocean Edge by calling 023 8000 1153 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org