What More Can Employers Do for Mental Health?
According to a survey conducted as part of Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report, only a third (36%) of companies worldwide offer wellbeing programmes that are considered “beyond the traditional”, including mindfulness, work-life balance and financial fitness.
Here at Knowit, we’ve introduced things such as:
- Longer lunch breaks for exercise
- Flexible working hours
- Unlimited holiday
- Two days per month to work from home
in the hope to promote a healthier and more autonomous work-life balance for our employees.
However, what more can we as employers be doing to help support a healthier lifestyle and address mental health issues in the work place?
In 2017, for example, Hunted wrote an article titled “Why Every Recruiter Should Have a Mental Health Day” and noted an organisation that offers four mental health days every six months, (if you need to take them).
Change starts at the top, and perhaps we need to look at understanding these issues before trying to fix them.
It’s important that managers create a good relationship with their team so that employees can feel comfortable in approaching them with these types of issues.
Staff who feel unable to talk to their manager may attend work when they are too ill to safely carry out their duties and working which can negatively affect others in that environment. Along with affecting others, it’ll elongate the time it takes to get better.
A good starting point could be looking at what areas of the workplace might be a cause of mental ill health. Gathering information on staff turnover, sickness absence and performance can be a good starting point.
Employers and managers should not be expected to be experts in mental health. However they should know where they and their team can go for further support internally, thanks to acas for this list:
- Access to work – www.gov.uk/access-to-work – can provide advice and an assessment of workplace needs for individuals, with disabilities or long-term health conditions, who are already in work or about to start. Grants may also be available to help cover the cost of workplace adaptations.
- Business in the Community – www.bitc.org.uk – is a network that provides toolkits on Mental Health, Suicide prevention and Suicide postvention to help employers support the mental health and wellbeing of employees.
- Mind – www.mind.org.uk – is a leading mental health charity in England and Wales. It provides information and support on how to improve mental health.
- Mindful Employer – www.mindfulemployer.net – is a UK-wide, NHS initiative. It is aimed at increasing awareness of mental health at work and providing support for businesses when recruiting and retaining staff.
- NHS choices – www.nhs.uk/livewell/mentalhealth – has a website that offers information and practical advice for anyone experiencing mental ill health.
- Remploy – www.remploy.co.uk – offers a free and confidential Workplace Mental Health Support Service for anyone absent from work or finding work difficult because of a mental health condition. It aims to help people remain in, or return to, their role.
- Rethink Mental Illness – www.rethink.org – is a voluntary sector provider of mental health services offering support groups, advice and information on mental health and problems.
Initiating change in an organisation’s workplace culture is never easy, but we can all take small steps and continue try to understand, develop and review different ways to address these issues in the workplace.
We would love to hear what you or other businesses are doing to lead the way in mental health support.