Employees' mental health should be a top priority for any business. According to Mind, approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. That means that more than a million working-age Brits are affected by mental illness each year.
What's more, with the cost of living crisis, the post-pandemic return to the office, and the economic gloom compounding on each other, more factors than ever contribute to the impact on employees' mental health. As an employer, it's essential to be proactive in supporting your employees' mental health.
Mental health issues can severely impact work performance and lead to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and even job loss. According to one study, better mental health support in the workplace has been estimated to save UK businesses up to £8 billion per year. What can you do as an employer to support your employees?
A great starting point is having open, honest conversations with your team members about how you can minimise their workplace challenges and lower their stress levels. When employees feel like they can talk openly about their mental health without fear of judgement, it can help to break down the stigma around mental illness.
An open and honest working culture can ensure employees feel supported by their colleagues. If they know that their colleagues are willing to listen and offer support, it can make them more likely to seek help for their mental health problems.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is vital for employees' mental health. When employees are stressed out or overworked, it can lead to decreased productivity and increased absenteeism. A healthy work-life balance can help employees to relax and recharge their batteries, meaning they are less likely to experience burnout.
Taking regular breaks is vital. When employees are constantly working, they can quickly become overwhelmed and stressed. Taking short breaks throughout the day can help employees to relax and refocus. Employers can encourage staff to take breaks by providing break areas with comfortable seating, games and puzzles. Encouraging walks outdoors is another way employers can help unburden the stress.
Mental health training can be beneficial for both employers and employees. Employers can learn how to identify the signs of mental illness in employees and provide support. Employees can learn how to deal with stress, anxiety and depression.
At GBS Corporate Training, we've seen more enquiries from organisations looking for this kind of training. As businesses look to ramp up their support for employee mental health, we've seen that our Resilience and Personal Wellbeing course has been one of the most requested courses of 2022, closely followed by our suite of Mental Health First-Aid courses.
Mental health training can help employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health problems with their employers. It can also help employers better understand mental illness symptoms and how they can help employees recover from them.
Flexible working arrangements are another post-pandemic boom. You can relieve stress for your team by eliminating the need for daily commutes. When employees can work from home or have more flexible hours, they are more able to manage and improve their work-life balance.
Flexible working arrangements are also beneficial to those employees who have caring responsibilities. When employees can juggle their work and home life more efficiently, it can lead to a happier, healthier workforce.
If you're an organisation looking to increase the mental health support available for your employees, please contact our team today. We’ll be more than happy to help discuss your options.