World wellbeing week 2023: Why supporting employee mental well-being in the workplace is important for businesses
By Dr. Julia Lyons, Senior Counselling Psychologist, Onebright
Employee well-being is crucial to any successful business, yet it is often overlooked. In the UK, a staggering 75% of employees report experiencing some form of work-related stress, leading to decreased productivity and increased absenteeism. With World Wellbeing Week taking place from June 26-30, there is a valuable opportunity for business leaders and HR teams to evaluate and develop the ways they support their employee’s mental health at work.
UK mental health statistics highlight the urgent need for companies to do more to prioritize their employees’ mental health and well-being. While waitlists for mental health services continue to grow, the reality remains that many people are struggling in silence. Additionally, as the cost of living crisis continues, businesses are feeling increased pressure, which can mean mental health resources for employees are less of a priority.
However, with World Wellbeing Week upon us, this is an important time for businesses to launch or develop their mental health and well-being initiatives in the workplace. By creating a supportive and healthy workplace environment, organizations can recognize the early warning signs that employees might be struggling with and enhance their employees’ job satisfaction and overall mental health.
Seven reasons to support employee mental well-being:
- Improved employee mental health: Mental health training can help employees identify and manage symptoms of common mental health struggles such as stress, anxiety, and depression. This can lead to improved mental well-being at work and reduced absenteeism.
- Increased productivity: A mentally healthy workforce is more engaged and productive, leading to improved performance and increased efficiency.
- Better teamwork: Mental health training can promote a supportive work environment and encourage open communication, improving teamwork and collaboration.
- Reduced stress levels: Mental health training can teach employees coping strategies to manage stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance. This can reduce burnout and improve job satisfaction.
- Improved retention: Providing mental health support shows employees that their employer values their well-being, which can reduce staff turnover.
- Enhanced reputation: Companies prioritizing mental health are considered socially responsible and attractive to potential employees and customers.
- Cost savings: Providing mental health support can reduce healthcare costs associated with mental health issues and improve overall productivity.
How can businesses support employee mental well-being?
Businesses can train an individual (or multiple people if you have a big team) to become a mental health first aider. Many businesses overlook the need for an employee who is trained to speak to people who may be struggling with their mental health. Mental health is just as important as physical health, so businesses may wish to appoint a mental health advocate just as they would appoint an advisor for physical health problems.
By providing peer-to-peer network support within your organization, you create an environment where individuals can feel more comfortable discussing any issues they encounter as and when they arise in the workplace. Mental health awareness training helps teach the tools for providing a supportive workplace, and encourages communication about employee wellbeing at work, boosting the overall happiness and mental health of their employees.