Mental health issues in the workplace can cause employees to suffer from feelings of nervousness, unease and anxiety, leading to a significant impact on their ability to work effectively. As an employer, mental ill health within your workforce can lead to lower productivity levels, increased absences and potentially staff conflict. As a result, raising awareness of mental health at work should be one of your priorities as a UK business.
In the UK, one in four people suffer from a mental health condition. Work-related stress is increasingly cited as a cause of anxiety and depression – leading to both physical and psychological damage and affecting how we think, feel and behave.
Regardless of whether work is causing mental health issues or employees are predisposed to a condition, employers in the UK have a legal responsibility to their employees.
What Is The Impact Of Mental Health In The Workplace?
According to official government statistics, the cost of mental ill health to UK employers is between £33 billion and £42 billion each year. 15% of workers consider themselves to have a mental health problem, with this figure rising to 27% in staff under the age of 18.
Nearly half of workers suffering from mental health problems have indicated that they have considered resigning from a job because it has had an adverse effect on their mental wellbeing, while almost 40% of sufferers are more likely to enter a conflict with their teammates.
In 2019, research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development study found that mental ill health in the workplace has an even bigger impact on UK businesses, with their findings indicating that:
- 80% of workers suffering from mental health issues find it difficult to concentrate
- 50% are less patient with customers and clients
- 60% take a longer amount of time to complete tasks
- 57% find it more difficult to multitask
Encouraging positive mental health among your workforce is therefore vitally important for any business looking to improve productivity levels in the workplace.
How Can Employers Improve Mental Health At Work?
As a business owner and employer you undoubtedly have a lot on your plate, and we understand that you may feel you don’t have the necessary time or resources to dedicate to mental health in the workplace.
However, there are a number of simple measures you can take to boost the mental wellbeing of your workforce and reap the benefits of improved productivity for your business in the process.
It goes without saying that staff who feel happy and content at work are more likely to perform well in their duties, have strong attendance levels and be actively engaged with the aims and objectives of the business.
However, everyone is different and, as such, it can be difficult to create a positive working environment that meets the wants and needs of the entire workforce.
It is important that business owners are able to identify any signs of mental ill health in their staff and provide the appropriate levels of support and guidance where necessary.
Check out our top tips for improving mental health in the workplace below:
Offer your employees flexible eating options
We all know the old adage, ‘you are what you eat’. Well, it’s true! What we eat and drink at work can affect how we feel, both mentally and physically. And these changes can affect how well employees perform on the job. Encourage your employees to maintain a healthy routine of eating at work – healthy meals and regular water breaks are essential for maintaining energy levels throughout the working day. It may seem counterproductive as an employer but encourage your workers to get away from their desks when they’re on their lunch break. Taking a walk or enjoying a change of scenery is proven to reduce stress and revitalise the mind.
Encourage a positive work/life balance
Maintaining a positive work/life balance is essential for both employee and employer. If staff feel happy at work, are able to leave on time, and are able to relax when they’re at home without feeling pressured to check their company emails or do that one extra piece of work, then wellbeing levels will undoubtedly rise – leaving to less absences and increased productivity. Encourage your employees to listen to their bodies and gain enough rest. After all, our mental health and concentration at work is proven to suffer if we don’t have enough sleep and relaxation.
Allow your employees to take regular breaks
A change of scenery is proven to be good not only for mental health and wellbeing, but also for productivity. Whether it’s offering employees a five minute break after each hour of work, encouraging them to work in different environments throughout the course of the day, offering an extended lunch break outside of the office, or rewarding your employees with a team bonding exercise away from the workplace, it’s important to give your staff the flexibility to recharge their batteries by taking a break.
Talk about mental health matters with your team
Despite improving awareness levels, mental health is still considered a taboo subject with many people. It’s important to remove this stigma by encouraging workers to open up about their feelings and responding in an empathetic and caring manner. As an employer, nobody expects you to be a mental health expert, which is why investing in management training may be a good solution for introducing mental health awareness into the workplace.
Keep your mental health resources up to date
Even if you’re a proactive employer in terms of raising awareness and offering support for mental health in the workplace, just like in other areas of business it’s important to stay on top of any changes in research and legislation. Make sure that you regularly audit your mental health policies and keep them up to date with practical advice that your employees can use to maximise their productivity and happiness at work.
Are You A Business Owner Looking To Improve Your Staff’s Mental Health?
An Accounting Gem can guide you through all the options available to you and your staff about improving mental health in your workplace. Speak with our friendly and knowledgeable team today by calling 01473 744 700 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org