Hardly a day goes by when some aspect of mental health awareness isn’t at the forefront of our news. Thankfully the days are long gone, when you were just expected to ‘get on with it’.
With daily demands and pressures in business ever increasing, it is vital to take time to care for your body and your mind.
Mental health and the cost to businesses
According to the HSE, it is estimated that in 2018/2019, 12.8 million working days were lost, due to mental health. In fact, stress-related illness accounts for over 50% of all illnesses. This has cost UK businesses a staggering £43bn.
Invest in your employees
So, whose responsibility is mental health in the workplace, the employer or the employee? The answer is both.
Employees unquestionably have a responsibility for their own wellbeing, both physical and mental. However, employers have a duty of care too, to ensure that employees are not overloaded, with unrealistic work expectations. Taking care of employees’ mental health, has definite financial benefits to businesses.
A recent report by Deloitte, states for every £1 a business spends on supporting their people’s mental health, they get £5 back on their investment in reduced presenteeism, absenteeism and staff turnover.
Tips for creating a healthy body and a healthy mind at work
- Be active. Find time to go for a walk, take the stairs not the lift, and get out of your chair once an hour.
- Avoid unhealthy habits. Reaching for a cigarette, glass of wine or cup of coffee, might seem a quick fix for stress but it isn’t. You are more likely to create more long-term health issues than you are trying to solve.
- Breathe. Take time out in the hustle of a hectic working day and breathe. Many smartwatches have built in reminders to prompt you to breathe. Deep breathing helps to calm your body down and can help you get through the demands of the day.
- Be sure to make time during your busy working day for a well-earned stretch. A simple stretch revitalises your body by releasing tension and allowing blood to circulate more freely.
- Practice positivity. Train you brain to think the glass is half full. At the end of the day give yourself a well done and write down three things you did that went well.
- Learn to accept the things you can’t change. If you can’t change it or it is beyond your control, learn how to let it go. Focus instead on the things you can The act of taking control is very empowering.
- Work smarter not harder. Prioritise important tasks first. Which tasks, when completed, will have the most impact? Leave the least important tasks until last.
- Be a people person. Don’t try to do it on your own, get support from colleagues, friends and family.
- Give something back. Sometimes a shift in focus is all that is needed to alleviate stress – helping people who are in a worse situation is a good way to get some perspective on your problems.
Business leaders support mental health in the workplace
It’s encouraging to see that more and more employers across the UK are recognising that mental health is something we all have and is here to stay. Five trailblazing companies leading the way for employee mental health and wellbeing include:
- innocent drinks
- Ernst & Young (EY)
- Sweaty Betty
With this in mind, it’s a better time than any to re-evaluate your business strategy and begin promoting good mental health in the workplace. A good place to start would be to take part in this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, due to take place between 18th-24th May.
So, how important is taking care of your employee’s mental health? And how have you created a culture of confidence and communication within your workforce? Please share your experiences in the comments section below.