It’s not uncommon for those suffering from mental health issues to remain silent about how they feel and what they’re going through; within businesses, it’s no different. To this day, employees are still reluctant to share mental health information with their managers or bosses, while research reviews that 50% of managers have never received any training in managing mental health problems.
As April is Stress Awareness Month, Instant Offices wants to tackle this ongoing issue within the workplace and encourage businesses to support their teams to speak about and prioritize, mental health that causes 300,000 people in the UK to lose their jobs every year.
Mental Health and the Workplace
Only 53% of employees feel comfortable talking about mental health issues like depression and anxiety at work seemingly for a good reason, as the stigma associated with mental health, becoming the subject of office gossip or compromising their employment terms are all legitimate fears.
While smart employers place workplace wellness at the core of their business by recognizing the importance of their staff, ensuring individuals feel valued and supported, an alarming number of companies are still avoiding the topic of mental health in the workplace.
Of the 5 million people being signed off from work every year, data from NHS showed an alarming 31% are taking time out due to mental health, with a shocking 14% rise in doctor’s notes relating to anxiety and stress in one year. Moreover, a report by the Centre for Mental Health revealed that absence due to mental health cost the UK economy £34.9 billion last year. Additionally, the economy lost:
- £21.2 billion in reduced productivity
- £10.6 billion in sick leave
- £3.1 billion in staff turnover
What Can Employers Do to Help Break the Cycle of Perpetual Silence?
Minimize the stigma and encourage conversations:
A study from Business in the Community shows, only 53% of employees feel comfortable talking about mental health issues like depression and anxiety at work.
Pay attention and monitor employees stress:
Around 91% of managers agree that their actions affect their staff’s wellbeing, however, only 24% of managers have received any training in mental health, which sadly perpetuates a culture of silence around mental health and wellbeing at work.
Introduce mental health initiatives and increase awareness:
Wellness and workplace health initiatives are varied but include everything from interventions and counseling services to mindfulness training, flexible working and even options like massages at work. Strategies ought to be tailor-made to suit each business and its needs.
Be more flexible with how and where employees work:
Around 70% of employees want a say in when and how they work, and growth in flexible working shows more businesses are responding. Nearly half of employees advocate for flexible working hours to reduce workplace stress and anxiety, increase productivity, and to improve morale and engagement.
Manage via a coaching approach and create a sense of trust between managers and employees:
Modern managers who focus on the growth and development of their team, personally and professionally, will see greater results and engagement. Getting this balance right enables employees to speak about their levels of stress, their worries about their role.
Placing health and wellbeing at the heart of the business can help employers attract and retain talent, improve productivity and happiness, and positively impact the bottom line.
About the author: Established in 1999, The Instant Group is a global flexible workspace specialist. Underpinned by unrivaled expertise, Instant tailors unique solutions to help businesses of all sizes to grow, drive savings or gain invaluable insight. With offices in London, Berlin, Dallas, New York, Hong Kong, and Sydney, The Instant Group employs more than 100 experts and has clients in 113 countries.