Studies show that the average British employee spends 34 hours of their week at work. So it should come as no surprise to you that the workplace can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health.
The Health and Safety Executive has actually reported that stress, depression or anxiety and musculoskeletal disorders accounted for 17.9 million days of lost work and on average, each person suffering from stress, depression or anxiety took around 21.6 days off.
As an employer, making sure your workplace is a positive one for your employees’ mental health and wellbeing will not only benefit them, but it will also work in your favour too. In this blog we’ll be providing resources and looking at what you can do to improve mental health in your workplace and how it can benefit you and your business.
Firstly, it’s important to check-in with your team on a regular basis and encourage your employees to talk to one another. A quick chat can show you care and quickly lift someone’s spirits if they are feeling low. It can also flag up any problems which need addressing before they develop into a serious issue.
Nurturing this type of work culture can help to create a positive work environment and in turn, improve morale and long-term productivity.
Not everyone thrives under pressure, so managing your team’s workload and ensuring your employees are not overwhelmed will give them time to complete their tasks without feeling stressed and snowed-under.
Encourage everyone to take short breaks throughout the day, as well as at least half an hour away from their workstation at lunch. Ideally, they should get some fresh air and spend some time outside if they can.
In this type of environment people are more likely to produce high-quality work, make less mistakes and feel positively towards the organisation they work for.
Consider appointing one of your employees as a mental health manager or ‘chief happiness officer’ to be in charge of your workplace mental health. Some workers may not feel comfortable speaking to their boss about their mental health, particularly if they are feeling down because of a work-related issue. So appointing someone else can enable them to open up.
It’s up to you to work with your mental health officer to establish their role but they may wish to hold monthly 1-2-1s with each worker to discuss any mental health issues they’re having, whether it’s work or home-related. You can then work with your officer to establish a plan and make positive changes to support your team to improve their mental wellbeing. They might also be put in charge of holding regular team building days to improve communication among staff.
We also advise that you develop a mental health policy. Your policy should include a clear definition of mental ill-health, how mental health links to your other workplace policies, the role of line managers and a section for recruitment. It could also cover what training will be provided to managers on mental health.
There is still a lot of stigma surrounding mental health issues so raising awareness of mental health in your workplace, brushing up on your knowledge and training your staff can dispel myths and encourage people to talk openly about their experiences.
Training doesn’t need to be time-consuming or expensive – there are plenty of online courses for mental health which can be completed at your own pace and in your own time and can be the first step in improving your employee’s mental wellbeing.
At FRS we offer a wide range of training courses for a multitude of health and safety needs, from first-aid training to fire safety in the workplace. We also offer mental health first aid training courses for individuals and businesses. You can browse our website or get in touch for more information.