The Benefits of Managing Employee Stress and Mental Wellbeing
Posted by Thomas Faulkner – Health and Safety Adviser
Work-related stress and pressure is becoming a real problem for all organisations. The latest statistics from Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that there were 595,000 individual cases of stress, anxiety and depression in the last year alone, with unrealistic expectations and unfriendly environments often cited as the leading causes of these mental health issues.
Due to the Health and Safety at Work Act, 1974, employers have a legal obligation to do everything “reasonably practicable” to ensure the general health, safety, welfare and wellbeing of their employees. While this inevitably causes many organisations to focus on implementing safer working practises to reduce the risk of accident, you also need to place an emphasis on maintaining the mental wellbeing of all employees.
Not only will this ensure you’re fulfilling your responsibilities as an employer, but supporting the mental health of your employees will also prove incredibly beneficial towards the success, productivity and profitability of your organisation. Since it’s currently National Stress Awareness Month, there’s never been a better time for you to learn what those benefits actually are:
While the thought of 595,000 workers suffering from mental health issues is certainly worrying enough, the main concern for employers is the fact that these problems resulted in 15.4 million lost working days throughout 2018 and look to continue. In addition to severely hampering the productivity and efficiency of your teams, such high absence rates are costing organisations a small fortune in sick pay and lost working hours.
By providing a more supportive working environment, which raises awareness of the causes and signs of intense work-related pressure, you can help to reduce the risk of employees suffering from these issues by implementing known wellbeing strategies. Although occasional pressure is an unavoidable part of working life, chronic pressure is often felt by those who feel isolated or unsupported, with 45% of organisations failing to provide adequate coping techniques or wellbeing support.
When employees can see how seriously you consider their mental wellbeing and provide tangible help, they’ll undoubtedly become much happier in their work and, perhaps more importantly, more engaged with your organisation. Of course, when employees feel happier, they usually feel much more motivated and driven; ultimately encouraging them to contribute more and improving their productivity.
Additionally, such a motivated workforce will inevitably lead to reduced employee turnover rates, meaning you don’t have to worry as much about losing star performers or, indeed, the cost of replacing them. After all, when they feel as though they’re constantly under unmanageable pressure, employees will quickly start looking for a new place to work.
The most effective way to protect the mental health of your employees is through the creation of a more supportive environment and wellbeing strategy. Your organisation needs to take steps to identify if work-related pressure, where it might be occurring and the likely causes which lead to it. It is also important to ensure that all employees understand that support is available through a well informed and tutored management team who know how to help.
Through stress awareness training, you can begin cultivating a culture based on shared understanding. At Praxis42, we provide extensive health and safety training courses for all organisations, working with some of the largest, most reputable companies in the UK with content developed by chartered practitioners using ‘Working together to reduce stress at work’ INDG424 and stress management standards.
Our stress awareness courses teach employees how to recognise the signs of work-related pressure; providing them with a basic understanding of the differences between stress and pressure, and teaching them how to handle any mental health issues effectively by understanding how they can contribute to stress assessments. In addition, our Stress Awareness for Managers course is designed to teach managers how to successfully manage stress in the workplace by applying the principles of the HSE’s Stress Management Standards.
To learn more about our health, safety and wellbeing courses, contact a member of the Praxis42 team today!