May 14th to May 20th marks Mental Health Awareness Week 2018. Everywhere around the UK, people will be doing their part to raise awareness of the trials and tribulations of poor mental health.
This year sees one of the biggest pushes towards PMH. Something many endure over the course of their life, including – and especially – in the workplace.
Not only a serious issue when it comes to employee wellbeing but the effects can severely impact motivation, productivity and ultimately the performance of your organisation. In 2016/2017, 526,000 workers suffered from depression or anxiety. Equally worrying an estimated 12.5 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2017.
For the most part, employers are empathetic toward mental health issues. However, the stigma surrounding mental health still stands. A YouGov report published in 2017 revealed that in 2016, 9% of employees faced dismissal or disciplinary action for disclosing their mental illness. By 2017, that number had risen to 15%.
It's never been more important for businesses to make positive strides to destigmatise poor mental health in the workplace. Company culture and leadership are key components to a mental health friendly business. To move forward senior leadership, HR and management need to work collaboratively to set the precedent, be well informed and willing to implement policies that make employees aware of available support.
According to research from the Mental Health Foundation, only 25% of those surveyed believed that their current policies and procedures supported employee mental health.
Management are the first line of defense for mental health and there are a number of ways in which they can work inside of their usual policy parameters to promote a positive work-life-balance. Simple things such as; ensuring their employees take their lunch break and leave work on time can play a massive part in employees wellbeing.
By promoting peer-to-peer communication senior leadership and HR can improve the business culture and help employees build stronger, more open working relationships. Having someone to talk to can make all the difference in dark times.
Employee Experience Platforms are becoming ever more popular among large organisations who have a number of locations and/or a large amount of remote workers. EEP's enable you to widen employee communication, boost engagement and add to the overall employee experience.
This can be particularly important in the case of the remote worker where they have little communication with the business and many of it's employees. EEP's can also hold and store documents relating to mental health for employees to readily access whenever they need, discreetly without raising alarm.
However you plan to promote positive mental health in the business it's clear that employees want to see changes. They want to feel supported and in return you can benefit from a happier, more productive and engaged workforce as a consequence.