Thriving at Work Report explained
A report published last month has set out a number of findings about the way in which mental health issues impact on employment.
The report, called “Thriving at Work”, was commissioned by the Prime Minister, Theresa May, back in January this year to give a view on how employers can better support the mental health of those currently in employment, including ways in which those with mental health problems or poor wellbeing can be supported to remain and thrive in employment.
The writers of the report have worked with Deloitte to assess the impact of mental health issues on employers, finding that the total cost to the economy is up to £99 billion each year with around 15% of people in work having symptoms of an existing mental health condition.
As well as carrying out research into the current impact of mental health issues in the workplace, the report makes a number of suggestions as to how employers could improve things, it suggests:
1. Producing, implementing and communicating a mental health at work plan;
2. Developing mental health awareness among employees;
3. Encouraging open communication about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling;
4. Providing employees with good working conditions to ensure they have a healthy work life balance and opportunities for development;
5. Promoting effective people management through line managers and supervisors; and
6. Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing.
The cost to employers of mental health issues in the workforce do not just end with days lost due to sickness absence. Significant amounts of management time can be taken up meeting with individuals and resolving potential disputes. It is hoped that by putting measures in place before problems arise and taking a more proactive approach, in the long term, employers and employers alike will benefit.
So, what does this mean for the future of mental health in the workplace? We asked Joy Reymond a director at the Council Work and Health, and absence management specialist ,for her view on the report and its findings.
‘There’s some great news, some good news and some bad news. First the bad news: as many of us know- or strongly suspect – the human and financial cost of poor mental health at work is HUGE. 300,000 employees leave the workforce every year due to mental health problems – that’s the equivalent of the entire city of Nottingham losing their job due to mental health problems!
This amounts to £33-£42B in lost productivity for employers, and the losses are even greater for the employees themselves. The employee faces not only a loss of work and a social network but also is at risk of falling into poverty, all of which contribute to even greater stress and deeper mental ill health
But there is good news too: employers can make a positive difference.
There are some simple -and inexpensive – steps employers can take. First, increase awareness, this will increase understanding and reduce stigma, and make it easier to talk about mental health issues as they arise. This will set the stage for an early response to mental health concerns, preventing the issues from escalating and spiraling out of your control.
And now time for the really great news, these moves will benefit all employees, not just those with mental health problems. They will benefit the employer’s bottom line too, with greater employee engagement and productivity, and fewer days lost due to mental ill health’.
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