Stress Awareness Month: Can employers do more?

Workplace wellbeing charity, Health@Work, reports 57% of UK employers do not meet basic standards around supporting staff with mental health problems – despite nine in ten saying wellbeing is important.

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A survey by Health@Work found 93% of employers consider workplace wellbeing to be an important business requirement. Just over half (51%) state they would be likely to invest in workplace wellbeing.The charity’s findings echo recent studies into expatriate and mobile workers’ wellbeing. Seven in ten companies surveyed for AXA-Global were concerned about the impact of mental health on international assignmentsThe Benefits and Trends Survey 2018 from Aon Employee Benefits also found the number of employers reporting employee stress and mental health-related illnesses rose from 55% last year to 68% in 2018.Despite this awareness, Health@Work’s research, which launched during Stress Awareness Month 2018, suggests 33% of employers overall are doing nothing to support the wellbeing of their staff.

Matching words with action on workplace mental health

GPs issue one in three sick notes for mental health, making it the most common reason for people to take time off work, says Health@Work.In financial terms, the bill to businesses of sickness absence is £10.6 billion, rising to £21.2 billion in reduced productivity.
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Better support for employees

Health@Work has therefore developed the Workplace Wellbeing Charter designed to help embed workplace wellbeing into every aspect of an organisation.Matt Liggins, director of wellbeing at Health@Work, said: “Mental health is a huge issue for businesses and our research highlights the need for employers to seek guidance for the care of their employees. “We created the Workplace Wellbeing Charter to help improve the health of businesses, making them stronger, more productive and more profitable."

Creating suppportive workplace cultures

Health@Work believes the self-assessment, site visit, action plan and evidence-based approach will help employers back up their belief that workplace wellbeing is important.“We know that business growth relies on sustainable cultures and practices that focus on how well its people perform," Mr Liggins continued.“By acting as a critical friend for businesses and shaping how people think about workplace wellbeing, encouraging open conversations about all important aspects of health including stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues, we can enable businesses to proactively address issues within their organisation to ensure a healthy culture and positive working environment.”
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