How Healthy is Your Workplace Right Now?

How Healthy is Your Workplace Right Now?

We all want to work in a healthy, happy, forward-thinking environment right?

The thought of a workplace that causes physical and mental health problems, instigates harmful use of substances and encourages absenteeism does not exactly inspire us to set our alarm each evening before bed!

There is so much in the press these days about wellness at work and the amount of funding going into research to improve mental health and mental health awareness in the workplace is phenomenal. The current findings of this research reveal some interesting facts for employers:

  • The HSE promote the well-recognised evidence that work is good for mental health but a negative working environment can lead to mental health problems. Their statistics show 4 million working days a lost per year due to work-related stress, depression and anxiety. Their website offers some useful guidelines for tackling work-related stress.
  • A WHO-led study estimates that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year in lost productivity. They provide suggestions for creating a healthy workplace, alongside some useful further reading.
  • A ComRes Survey discovered that 49% of British adults in full-time employment would be unlikely to tell their boss about problems such as anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder.
  • The 2017 Thriving at Work independent review says up to 300,000 people with long-term mental health problems have to quit their jobs each year in the UK. Refer to their website for information on how to stay healthy and be happy at work.
  • Approximately 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience a mental health problem each year. The OECD has recognised the significant loss of potential labour supply, high rates of unemployment, and a high incidence of sickness absence and reduced productivity at work mental illness causes.

These are the cold hard statistics but as a recruiter, you may be aware on a more personal level, the effects of pressure in a high-performance culture.  Being aware of distress in colleagues and employees is one thing but having the skills and confidence to deal with these issues when confronted with them is another. What is the right thing to do or say? This can be even more intimidating when we know there are legal requirements we should be fulfilling.  Support is available and one particularly interesting group is MHFA England who provide online resources and mental health first aid training for employers and staff to bring parity between mental and physical first aid in the workplace.