Ever thought about the importance of your policy for mental health in the workplace? As working habits have changed in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, your business’ approach to managing mental wellbeing is more apparent than ever. Statistics from MHFA England show that burnout, depression, anxiety and work-related stress account for more than half of all work-related illnesses.
Some other notable takeaways from the MHFA’s Workplace Mental Health Statistic for 2023 Report include:
- 55% of workers feel that work is getting more intense and demanding.
- 61% of workers feel exhausted at the end of most working days.
- A third of managers feel out of their depth supporting their team with mental health concerns.
- 29% of managers said more support and training from their employer would help them support other team members.
From absence and burnout to accidents and presenteeism (when an employee is present at work when unwell), poor mental health has a huge impact on UK businesses – costing the economy £28billion annually.
Many organisations are opting to implement a workplace mental health policy to promote positive wellbeing at work. So, in this blog post, we’re here to give you the lowdown on what to include to meet compliance and help create a happier, positive workplace culture for your employees.
Understanding the importance of a workplace mental health policy
A healthy workforce means a happy workforce. Protecting your employees should be a priority as a business owner. Workplace absences that occur as a result of poor mental health, stress and anxiety can increase staff turnover, lead to a downturn in morale and harm your business. Prevention is the best cure, and that’s where a mental health policy in the workplace comes in.
A workplace mental health policy is a written document that outlines your organisation’s approach to mental health. It provides benchmarks for ensuring mental health issues can be prevented or treated, as well as ensuring positive mental health is promoted.
This policy should apply to every member of staff. It is up to you as the employer to ensure the policy is effectively communicated and implemented across the company.
What to include in a workplace mental health policy?
A mental health policy should highlight what you, as a business, intend to do to acknowledge and support the wellbeing of your employees. Here are some examples of what could be included in a mental health policy:
- How you will address work-related stress and stress-related absences
- Whether a medical referral is necessary for the circumstances
- What further action may be required
- What you will do to promote positive wellbeing (training or awareness days)
- Contact details of your mental health first aiders/champions
Benefits of positive mental health in the workplace
Work is a massively influential factor in the wellbeing of a person. Although there is evidence to suggest that those who work are happier and healthier, it’s important to recognise that work can also have a negative effect on a person’s wellbeing.
Workplaces should aim to create an environment that nurtures good mental wellbeing and eliminates or minimises those factors that can have a negative impact on mental health.
This offers a number of benefits for organisations, including:
- Reduced absenteeism
- Higher staff retention rates
- Higher levels of performance
- Increased productivity
- Work towards legal compliance
Promoting mental health in the workplace
A key part to consider when establishing your workplace mental health policy is promoting the message throughout the business. This should involve employees, managers and senior staff. Driving engagement and raising awareness is crucial, as this generates traction and buy-in across the business. If your message doesn’t cut through across your organisation, it can be challenging to adopt a holistic approach and build a workplace culture that is happy, healthy and proactive.
Addressing important topics like stigmas around certain mental health issues to educate employees and other colleagues is a great starting point. Your mental health workplace policy could incorporate the following strategies to help build that all-important awareness.
- Mental health initiatives – Small things like holding talking sessions, producing informational materials and delivering training can be invaluable for nurturing insight and understanding of mental health.
- Online information and resources – There are many online resources that can help employees with mental health issues. Encourage employees to utilise resources with information on managing sensitive issues such as financial anxieties, physical health issues, and finding the right work/life balance.
- Open communication – Actively supporting employees to discuss issues and worries with other colleagues and managers can help align your business approach. Senior staff should be encouraged to take a proactive role in offering support for employees who may be struggling with issues both at work and out of work. This helps to break the stigma of mental health and redefine attitudes throughout the organisation to promote an inclusive, healthy workplace culture.
How can Citation ISO Certification help?
We understand the importance of protecting the wellbeing of all employees. Taking decisive action to keep your workforce happy and motivated can boost productivity, reduce absence, improve recruitment and retention, and ultimately save money.
ISO 45003 Certification contains the guiding principles for employers to support employees with managing psychosocial risks in the workplace. We’ve already helped many organisations implement an occupational Health & Safety management system. This can help show your employees, customers, clients, and stakeholders that you’re building a positive work environment and actively preventing work-related ill-health.
If you would like to find out more about ISOs and their requirements, give the team a call today at 0333 344 3646. For further reading, why not take a read of our guide to workplace mental health?