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Supporting mental wellbeing in the workplace

Published: October 5, 2018

We’ve all heard of physical wellbeing and its importance in the workplace. We promote healthy living, offer a cycle to work scheme, gym membership and more to our staff to encourage a healthy lifestyle. It’s not just about being a good and generous employer, although that’s important. It also helps the business because healthy employees take less time off sick and are more productive.

Only in the last few years has emotional wellbeing started to gain similar traction. Emotional and mental health concerns can lead to physical problems related to stress, which in itself negates your physical wellbeing efforts. It makes sense, therefore, to introduce emotional wellbeing for your staff alongside the health-conscious work you already have in place.

mental wellbeing

What is emotional wellness?

One in four people will experience a mental health issue this year. For many, their work will be affected. According to the 2017 Thriving at Work report, it’s likely to cost business around £40 billion. That’s a staggering figure and amounts to around £1,350 for every single worker in Britain. Emotional issues might be related to stress, anxiety, depression, bereavement or relationship issues. But increasingly it might also be down to financial problems causing worries.


What can employees do to support staff?

By putting as much effort into emotional wellness alongside physical wellbeing, accounting and professional services giant Deloitte said employers would get back between £1.40 and £9.40 for every £1 spent on helping and educating staff. The effort is worthwhile for employer and employee alike, and needs to be addressed through training, communication and leadership.

Here are some of the things you could incorporate into your business quickly:

  • Mental health awareness campaigns
  • On-site clinics offering psychological interventions
  • Train mental health first aiders
  • Offer access to a network of professional therapists


How do you measure the results of your efforts?

The results of your emotional wellness policy will not become apparent in a reduction of sick days alone, although there’s every likelihood that will happen. There’s also likely to be a reduction in staff turnover, while behavioural concerns like poor concentration, tearfulness and short temper can also improve. Improvements of so-called “presenteeism” behaviours have a beneficial knock-on effect for all staff, not just those involved, which will improve overall morale and productivity within the business.


Don’t forget financial wellbeing for staff

One of the biggest triggers for emotional and stress-related issues is money worries. Addressing the personal finance concerns of staff will help reduce the number of those that might feel the need to use your emotional wellbeing programmes.

Here are some of the things you can look at implementing:

  • Offering staff finance webinars or seminars
  • Hire a personal financial advisor to hold open door sessions for staff
  • Offer practical saving schemes, perhaps as part of an innovative payroll solution.
  • Give staff access to literature and learning materials

A survey by Barclays found 38% of workers said they would move to a company with a strong financial wellbeing initiative.


Wellbeing works to the power of three

Where once wellbeing covered one area, now there are three. And all are interlinked, so employers need to find a way to introduce physical, emotional and financial wellbeing together.

For more on mental health in the workplace click here. To read about mental health charity Mind click here.

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