Following the recent published injury and ill health statistics by the HSE, which highlights that work-related stress and mental health problems in Great Britain is the highest rate for at least the past 11 years, if you are an employer looking to reduce costs, increase employee performance and as a result boost productivity here are some tips to help...
Working hours and environment
Creating a flexible working policy which supports occasions to work from home and offers flexible working hours and patterns can help employees who are perhaps juggling their family and/or personal life, as well as the morning commute and a demanding job involving relentless hours.
Leaders not managers
Having a positive leadership team with good people skills, who can motivate others by supporting and inspiring employees with clear expectations - but not micromanaging.
A particular quote from one mental health counsellor: “Very often we don’t need our boss or colleagues to give us a hard time as we’re good at doing that ourselves,”
Introducing wellbeing initiatives in the workplace however small, can make a positive impact on mental health. A flexible working policy can enable employees to exercise before or after work. Look at creating opportunities to educate and raise awareness: encourage employees to walk or cycle to work, create break-out areas to encourage lunch breaks away from the desk and provide those using workstations with advice and training on good posture.
It's naturally not easy for people to talk about or raise mental health issues, especially at work. One of the first signs can be at the stage when an employee calls in sick with stress. A proactive solution is to encourage an open dialogue by having a trained mental health first aider - the equivalent of a traditional first aider who is on hand to deal with accidents and injuries - but trained to help and support those with stress and anxiety.
By better supporting employees, and creating a complete organisational workplace wellbeing culture can help to reduce absenteeism, reduce risks of compensation claims and improve workplace productivity.