Mental health is often seen as a taboo topic in the workplace. However, it is becoming increasingly recognised as an important issue that needs to be addressed. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of mental health in the workplace and some ways in which HR managers can support employees.
It is estimated that one in six people in the UK workplace will experience poor mental health each week. This means that there is a good chance that you know someone who is struggling with their mental health, even if you don’t realise it. In the workplace, poor mental health can have a significant impact on employees as well as on the business itself.
The cost of poor mental health to businesses in the UK is estimated to be around £1,300 per employee each year. This includes absenteeism, presenteeism (when employees are physically present but not working to their full potential), and the cost of replacements. Poor mental health can also lead to staff turnover, as employees leave the organisation or are signed off sick.
Why do mental health issues affect businesses so much?
It goes without saying that people’s mental wellbeing has been seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people continue to struggle with pandemic-related uncertainty, and many are still managing new work demands and personal challenges.
For someone who struggles with their mental health, working in an office with a constantly changing atmosphere, culture, and general dynamics can often be a very challenging experience. Having the inability to adapt to the constantly changing environment in which your business operates can really hinder what should be a natural growth process in the context of your business.
There are a number of reasons why mental health in the workplace issues can have such a big impact on businesses. Let’s highlight a few below.
Loss of productivity
Firstly, mental health in the workplace can lead to a loss of productivity. This is because employees who are struggling with their mental health may find it difficult to concentrate or to motivate themselves. They may also take more time off sick or have difficulty making decisions. Likewise, the stamina of an employee can also be adversely affected, which could lead to a problem meeting task deadlines.
An individual with anxiety or depression may suffer from low self-esteem, which causes them to take feedback personally, which ultimately results in them doubting themselves and their work, thereby affecting their confidence as well as their ability to perform to their best.
Negative impact on morale
Secondly, poor mental health can have a negative impact on team morale. This is because employees who are struggling with their mental health may find it difficult to interact with others. Furthermore, they may also find it difficult to understand how others perceive the world and relate to them in a respectful way. As a result, there can be confusion in the workplace and misunderstandings that can lead to conflicts.
Increase in absenteeism
Thirdly, poor mental health can lead to an increase in absenteeism. This is because employees who are struggling with their mental health may take more time off sick or be signed off sick more often. According to statistics, 38.8 million working days are lost to work-related ill health, with each individual taking around 21.6 days off work due to stress, depression, or anxiety.
Increase in staff turnover
Fourthly, poor mental health can lead to an increase in staff turnover. Having poor mental health may lead to employees leaving the company or being signed off sick more frequently as a result of their struggles. People may leave due to the stigma associated with mental ill health. This can create gaps in the organisation and put pressure on HR staff and leaders to recruit as soon as possible to avoid delays in work and deadlines.
So what can managers and leaders do to support employees who are struggling with their mental health?
Occupational safety and health are fundamental rights of all workers. The work environment can help protect your mental health, but it can also cause it to deteriorate.
The good news is that work-related mental health conditions can be prevented. People with mental health conditions can be supported to participate fully and equitably in the workplace if it protects and promotes mental health.
There are a number of things that HR managers and leaders can do to support employees who are struggling with their mental health at work.
Firstly, HR managers can provide employees with access to counselling and support services. This can help employees to understand their poor mental health and to find ways to cope with them. Even if employees are experiencing personal stress or issues that are affecting their work performance, offering counselling services to them is one effective way to keep them motivated, committed, and reliable.
HR managers can educate employees about mental health and how to identify early signs of poor mental health. As a result, employees will be able to recognise when they are starting to struggle and seek help early, but they will also be able to recognise mental health issues in their peers so that they can offer encouragement and support.
As part of our commitment to employee well-being, POINT3 offers a Mental Health Awareness Training course aimed at managers and team leaders. It’s an incredible opportunity to discuss mental health stigmas around the workplace and how to identify mental health conditions that may be encountered in the workplace (and beyond).
For further information, prices, and to book your training, please contact a member of the POINT3 team.
HR managers can create a supportive and inclusive workplace culture. This can involve things like promoting open communication and having policies and procedures in place to support employees who are struggling with their mental health.
Although mental health issues can be challenging to overcome, it is important that employees feel they can turn to a professional if they are experiencing difficulties in their mental health. By providing them with the right support, they will be able to improve their communication skills as well as cope with their mental health.
By taking professional advice and support, HR managers and leaders can play a key role in supporting employees who are struggling with their mental health. This can create a more productive and inclusive workplace and can ultimately benefit the business as a whole.
It all begins with psychological safety, which is why at Point3 Wellbeing, we made it our mission to make the world more comfortable being themselves by helping as many people as possible to stress less and smile more.
You might also be interested in checking out further information about our Mental Health First Aid England training.