Mental Health and Wellbeing: How will your business support its employees as we all return to the workplace?
Every year in England, 1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem. As a business owner, you have a duty of care for your employees’ physical and mental wellbeing – you need to ensure your employees feel motivated, valued and happy in the workplace every day.

Whatever industry you work in, the importance of supporting your employees’ mental health and overall wellbeing cannot be overstated. That’s why you need to think about how your organisation can more fully support your employees, so they feel safe, cared for and comfortable in the workplace.

In this blog, we outline why it’s so important that you provide mental health & wellbeing support to your employees – and how you can do this effectively and efficiently.

‘Prevention is better than cure’ – and so it is, with mental health!
The old adage goes: ‘prevention is better than cure’ – and so it is, with mental health and wellbeing!

When your organisation has a provision for employees to discuss their mental health, it helps to ensure they don’t bottle stuff up. This can be significant in preventing issues from arising in the first place.

Furthermore, as a business owner, you can maximise employee wellbeing by:

  • Understanding factors that influence mental health
  • Addressing (and preventing) stress
  • Emphasising the importance of self-care to your employees
  • Creating an open environment for discussing mental health, reducing stigma and increasing trust that anyone who is struggling will be supported and cared for

‘Self-care’ for your employees can include making sure they take time out of their day to do things they enjoy, have a nutritious diet, and maintain a healthy sleep routine.

It can be challenging for you to influence these things, when they so often take place away from the workplace – but promoting regular conversations about them is a brilliant place to start.

Early intervention is always best
While your organisation should be doing everything possible to prevent mental health issues, you should also be proactively responding when you see warning signs. In particular, this involves developing awareness and skills so you can:

  • Identify signs of poor mental health
  • Understand how to intervene with struggling employees
  • Listen and communicate non-judgementally

The longer a problem is left untreated, the worse it will become. By intervening early and in the right way, you will avoid disasters wherein employees are left unsupported for too long.

Intervene early. You will make your workplace a better place as a result!

Ensure adequate support for your team
Once a mental health and wellbeing issue has presented itself, your organisation must act appropriately. You cannot expect the problem to disappear without addressing it.

Effective ways of supporting your employees with mental health include:

  • Explaining ways your employees can access support, for example by using Mental Health First Aiders
  • Maintaining regular 1-2-1 meetings with all employees
  • Getting emergency help in a crisis

A common method of support is by having a strong Health and Wellbeing policy in place, that outlines the strategies of what the organisation can do to support an employee who is struggling. This can help your employees reach out for help with a range of mental and emotional problems, reduce stress, and therefore help them make positive strides forwards for their wellbeing.

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The benefits of providing mental health support
Research shows that employees who receive treatment, help and support for common mental health illnesses (such as depression) are able to return to work and report improved work performance. And in some studies, treatment of depression has been shown to reduce absenteeism and presenteeism by 40 to 60 percent.

Therefore, by supporting your team’s mental health and wellbeing, you will benefit from:

  • Increased productivity
  • Increased retention
  • Increased prospect of recruiting and retaining the right talent

In a 2019 survey conducted by MindShare Partners, around 1/3 of respondents said they had left a job due at least in part to mental health. Of these, 59 percent said mental health was the primary reason.

Furthermore, having a robust and established mental health focus will demonstrate to prospective candidates that you care about their overall health and wellbeing. This means that they will be more likely to want to work for you – and you will recruit the best talent around!

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How HR Initiatives can support your organisation with mental health and wellbeing
At HR Initiatives, we have launched a range of mental health and wellbeing tools for clients. As an example, we can provide you with a toolkit that provides you with guidance on how to:

  • Support employees who may be struggling with mental health challenges
  • Develop strategies to keep your team well
  • Understand how mental health impacts employees
  • Recognise signs of emotional distress
  • Build flexibility into your workplace
  • Help employees manage the work/life balance better
  • Support employees returning after absence due to mental health by developing a ‘return-to-work’ plan

In addition to the above, we also encourage you to talk to employees about taking rest breaks from work, and balancing out their annual leave across the year. These small steps will help you towards creating a work environment that is supportive rather than challenging, caring rather than punitive.

It stands to reason that your employees will want accessible information from you about where to go and who to ask for mental health support. HR Initiatives help you to achieve this, thus creating an open culture about mental health, and removing the stigma that people feel about opening up when they are struggling.

Mental Health First Aid – the next big step
In addition to the comprehensive support listed above, HR Initiatives also provides Mental Health (MH) First Aid services. As part of this service, we offer expert support with:

  • Launching a MH First Aid initiative in your business
  • Enabling your team to become MH First Aid qualified
  • Helping your team source relevant MH help and advice
  • Providing updates & resources surrounding mental health
  • Encouraging employees to come forward if they need help
  • Promoting the importance of mental health & wellbeing

By working with us, your business will also be able to ‘Benchmark’, through a survey, the current status of your employees’ mental health and wellbeing. It is particularly important that you do this in light of the remote working situation and Covid-19 outbreak.

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Creating an open environment to discuss and address mental health
If you want your workplace to be an open environment where mental health and wellbeing is discussed, then HR Initiatives can help. We can also support your organisation in finding a suitable employee assistance programme that supports employee health and wellbeing beyond mental health, and covers a wide range of support services such as bereavement, family conflicts, debt management and much, much more, all for far less than you probably think.

Furthermore, both Emma Williams (Director of HR Initiatives) and Penny Perschky (Director of Operations at HR Initiatives) are qualified Mental Health First Aiders. This means that you will be working with accredited, experienced experts in mental health first aid support.

Whatever business and industry you work in, it is important that you look after your mental health, and the mental health of your employees. How we interact with one another can have a huge impact on people’s wellbeing – and ultimately, the success of your company!

For a no-obligation discussion with us about mental health and wellbeing support for your company, call us now on 01438 742 056 or email info@hrinitiatives.co.uk