A simple enough question, but finding the time, knowledge and resources to ensure a business can support and enable their employees to flourish is anything but.
Now, more than ever, as COVID restrictions ease and many employers look to welcome their staff back to the office, Mental Health Awareness Week is a reminder that a supportive and open work environment, where mental health is recognized and discussed, will be key post pandemic.
Whilst there is no one simple solution to managing mental health, at home or at work, employers can address mental health through targeted engagement and communication with staff, encouraging the conversation and making staff wellbeing a priority.
Employers have had to adapt quickly over the past year when reacting to the economic impact of the pandemic, and have asked employees to work from home, accept furlough, or work even harder to keep up with demand as the pandemic affected their business or sector. Employees have had many new challenges, such as, finding new ways of working, balancing family, schooling, caring responsibilities, and working all in the same space, all whilst not being able to enjoy their normal lives. The impact and pressures created through the pandemic and in the aftermath will affect some more than others, and in different ways. Work related stress, anxiety and mental health are no longer taboo subjects as they once were.
On the Agenda
Mental Health is now firmly on the agenda. Most employers would agree that staff wellbeing, and good mental health are key to a productive and successful business. But what does a good mental health policy / staff wellbeing policy look like? What should it include? How can employers promote and support mental wellbeing?
Employers are now realising with hybrid working a well thought out Staff Wellbeing policy will help guide them through the process, from establishing the scope and objectives to producing an action plan and targets and ultimately evaluating its success.
Staff Wellbeing is more than a questionnaire, and should go further than the established best practices when dealing with health-related absences and reasonable adjustments, but are of course the starting point. To go further includes a varied approach: promoting diversity and inclusion, flexible working, a welcoming work environment for all, promoting healthy choices, encouraging a walk at lunch, a clear set of culture and values, career progression, links with local charities, social activities, good line managers, senior team members taking responsibility for and promoting the commitment to the approach, as well as mental health first aiders. Each business will be different, and may include different initiatives, however a successful policy will always include listening and good communication.
HR Departments and Occupational Health Professionals will be key in delivering and managing any policy and providing support, as well as external consultants, foundations and charities.
Our employment team are here to assist with your staff wellbeing queries and employer statutory obligations.