Mental health conditions are becoming increasingly apparent across the UK; 1 in 6 people in England have reported they have experienced a mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety, in any given week.
Creating a working environment that supports employees struggling with their mental health, and helps to prevent workers from developing mental health conditions, will provide endless benefits for your business and the wellbeing of your staff.
Working conditions can have a considerable impact on mental health and wellbeing. Equally, a mental health condition may have a significant effect on a person’s ability to perform well in their job.
It is in an employer’s interest to ensure their workplace has a system in place to ensure staff feel comfortable discussing their mental health. Employees should expect to be offered reasonable adjustments in their workplace to help them continue their role effectively while coping with their condition. Providing your employees with the support they need will increase staff retention and engagement, helping to boost your business’ productivity in the long run.
Tips to improve mental wellbeing in your workplace
Build awareness and encourage openness
Your staff should feel comfortable disclosing their mental health condition to your HR team without worrying they will be embarrassed or face discrimination. Create a system that demonstrates you will listen to your employees and provide support to help them succeed in their role. Moreover, if members of the leadership team are open about their mental health, it can make the rest of the team feel reassured and comfortable with coming forward if they need to.
For employees that are experiencing a mental health condition and have disclosed this to your team, your business must consider implementing reasonable adjustments which may improve their wellbeing and help them to perform their role as effectively as possible.
Such adjustments may include removing the pressure of looming deadlines, creating quiet working stations, or alternatives to a traditional work setting such as flexi-time or working from home. Accommodations will be specific to each employee and their condition. Make sure your team takes the time to discuss with your employee the type of adjustments that could be the right fit for their needs.
In certain workplaces, hearing ‘work social’ is almost synonymous with ‘drinking’. With a considerable link between alcohol and mental health issues, employers should look beyond the local pub or bar for their social. Arranging an outdoor activity, such as a hike or adventure course, can be a healthy and fun way for your employees to socialise and build team-working skills. Instead, giving your employees the option for what they do for their social will highlight your respect for their wants and needs.
Starting a conversation about mental health doesn’t have to be complicated. Careers with Disability is the perfect resource to help employers create an accessible environment for people with a whole range of disabilities, including mental health conditions. Visit our dedicated pages on employing a disabled person and our disability advice hub to find out more information specific to individual disabilities.