Strategic approach to Mental Wellbeing at Work

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Strategic approach to Mental Wellbeing at Work

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The latest statistics within the workplace remains high at 914,000 cases of work-related stress, depression, or anxiety in 2021/22 in Great Britain.

Work should be good for everyone, and they should feel safe and healthy within the workplace. However, there are many people who have significant stress in the workplace which threatens their overall health both physically and psychologically.
A report from Nice (National Institute for Health and Care) showed better mental wellbeing and job satisfaction are associated with increased workplace performance and productivity. However, the government review Thriving at Work estimates that 15% of UK workers have an existing mental health condition.
The costs
The costs for poor mental wellbeing to employers in the UK is estimated at £56 billion annually through presenteeism, sickness absence and staff turnover. (Deloitte [2020] Mental health and employers: refreshing the case for investment). For each employer it is estimated they would lose between £1,652 and £1,716 per employee and this is a potential loss of between £165,200 and £171,600 for 100 staff per year.
‍Organisation wide approach
There should be an organisation wide approach to mental wellbeing, and this is by carrying out a stress/wellbeing audit/survey for all employees. This will identify any problems and how satisfied employees are which gives a baseline to develop solutions to improving mental wellbeing within the workplace.
Each role within an organisation should have a Stress risk assessment to meet legal requirements. Organisations can then identify risks to employees' mental wellbeing and will enable them to take action to reduce stressors in a proactive way.

‍Investing in Mental Health makes financial sense
The results of Deloitte's updated ROI analysis show a financial case in favour of employers investing in mental health. They found that on average employers obtain a return of £5 for every £1 (5:2:1) invested, up from £4 for every £1 spent (4.0:1) in their previous report. However there is a wide spread of returns from 0.4:1 all the way up to 11:1. Interventions that achieve higher returns tend to focus on prevention.

Effective Interventions

Research has found that a primary or preventive intervention was the most effective but is less common and is not always as expensive or disruptive. This is about tackling stress at source and by carrying out a stress risk assessment - assess the risk, identify stressors, implement, and evaluate interventions and include all staff in the best way forward for interventions.

Managers should be trained and supported to identify stress early in their staff and this will lead to a more productive and healthier workforce. This will also help in recognising presenteeism which can cost at least twice as much as absenteeism.

Secondary is reactive and this is by helping individuals cope better which is the most common method within organisations but is less effective according to research by Professor Gail Kinman. This includes mindfulness, yoga, using technology for training and support.

Training of leaders, managers and employees on stress management is a priority and being able to identify and manage stress effectively. The development of managers dealing with work-related stress, along with their knowledge and understanding of it. They require skills to deal with the issue as effectively as possible. The role of both top management and line managers is important.

Being reactive or tertiary is helping an individual return to work following being off with mental ill health. There should be reasonable adjustments in place and the support of occupational health services along with rehabilitation in some instances to support them on their return to work.

For more information on how to have a strategic approach to improve productivity and make cost savings, get in touch for a free consultation.

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