Research consistently shows that employees’ wellbeing levels are higher when they feel valued and supported. Known as employee engagement, they are more likely to perform better and be committed to company goals.
Employees are vital to keeping the wheel of a business turning but it’s important to remember that they are not machines; not 100% task-focused and performing at their best all of the time.
As an employer, have you considered:
- Mental health and wellbeing as important matters?
- Are your mental health and wellbeing policies reactive and driven by staff events and experience?
- Current performance indicators such as recruitment, retention and presenteeism (employees choosing to work while they are sick)?
- Do you have an evidence base for measuring the return on investment (ROI) from wellbeing strategies?
- Have you established best practice?
Did you know?
It was reported in June 2020 that 31.8% of all sickness absence was due to anxiety/stress/depression/other psychiatric illnesses and accounted for over 470,000 days lost (NHS, 2020). These same factors also were identified as the main drivers for presenteeism, accounting for 50% of all cases pre-covid (CIPD, 2020)*
Any increase in presenteeism (where employees choose to work while they are sick) demonstrates the importance of understanding staff mental health and wellbeing in the workplace. Employers should introduce an effective workplace mental health and wellbeing strategy, addressing the following factors:
Workplace triggers for reduced mental health
Workplace triggers for reduced mental health include:
- long hours and no breaks
- overly pressurised working environments
- poor managerial support
- poor internal communication
Steps for improving mental health:
- Routinely take stock of areas in your organisation where timesheets are excessive and absenteeism rates are increasing. If unnoticed, you won’t have a clear understanding of what’s going on, so any actions taken will be less effective.
- Leading by example, encouraging discussion, actively pushing full lunch breaks, sensible working hours and recuperating after busy periods.
- Simply asking how staff are doing and maintaining clear lines of communication regularly, with monthly meetings, regular one to ones or telephone catch-ups.
How you can boost employee wellbeing
Adjustments to your organisation’s culture can boost employee wellbeing and, in the long run, increases engagement. Wherever possible, managers should be role models for healthier work habits. Steps for increasing wellbeing include:
- Encourage team exercise and regular social events to boost staff wellbeing, such as lunch time walking clubs or away days.
- Introduce a mentoring and buddy scheme. Some people find it easier to speak to someone who isn’t their line manager.
- Involve employees in dialogue and decision making. For example, creating staff surveys or focus groups, or feeding back Board decisions.
- Open and supportive workplaces benefit both employees and employers. By supporting your employee’s mental health and wellbeing, businesses should see increased morale, loyalty, innovation, productivity and profitability.
Identifying the signs of poor mental health early on and putting in place wellbeing strategies will help to keep your workforce happy. Keeping the communication open and leading by example are key. Businesses need to show they care about their employee’s mental health from the offset. The Stress Management Society has a variety of useful resources to help businesses with this, which can be found here.