How to create a mental health friendly workplace
26th July 2017
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Despite mental health issues being very common - one in four of us will suffer mental health problems during our lives - we find it very difficult to talk about. Mental illness is termed as a disability and is the largest single cause of disability in the UK but the range of mental health conditions can make its management difficult and challenging for employers.

According to ACAS, Mental health problems cost employers in the UK £30 billion a year through lost production, recruitment and absence - so why aren't we doing more about it?

Here is some valuable guidance from Human Results - HR Consultants in Shropshire to enable business owners to ensure they create a mental health friendly workplace.

A mental health friendly workplace starts with your responsibility and ethics as an employer; much like giving your staff time off for community work that boosts your corporate profile, earning a reputation as a mental-health friendly employer can do wonders for your company image. So here is how to begin:


Communicate your mental health agenda

Whether you want to provide support through an Employee Assistance Programme, allocated time off to refocus, yoga classes or privately-funded stress counselling, whatever you do, make sure you communicate your ethos to your staff.

The stigma that surrounds issues of mental health can often prevent people from seeking help, so make sure your staff know where to turn if they are experiencing a problem.


Make adjustments

It may not always be practical, but where certain jobs allow try to accommodate the needs of your team.

If you know someone is struggling with childcare during early starts, don’t make them feel like they have to choose between their job and their children – you will lose every time. Take the pressure off by allowing them to start and finish work later. If it is not detrimental to the running of your business, there are many ways to be flexible with hours, working pace or modified responsibilities.


Know when to stop

Every day is a busy day, and in some workplaces if the routine is interrupted then it can have disastrous consequences. However, there are times when you simply need to slow down and refocus your team.

Allowing your staff to work for 50+ hours for weeks on end is not good practice. Incentivise them for a great effort with small but meaningful rewards – a half day finish once a month, an extra holiday day on their birthday, a late start on a Monday morning. Incentives don’t need to be financially driven, sometimes people really do respond to just a little extra time to themselves.


If you need support with implementing mental health policies or campaigns in your workplace, talk in confidence to Human Results and call 01952 288361.

About the Author

Mark Luckman

Member since: 10th July 2012

I champion the best businesses in Telford and Wrekin, businesses recommended by you. If you run a local business or know a really great local business that you think deserves to be known by more local...

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