Top tips for improving wellbeing in the workplace
Stress, anxiety and depression are the cause of over 51% of all work related illness.
Statistics from the ONS show that, in 2021/2022, 1.8 million workers suffered from work related illnesses. Of that 1.8 million, 914,000 (51%) suffered with work related stress anxiety and depressions. That’s up from the 40% recorded in 2016/2017.
These findings are worrying for businesses. Not only do employers have a duty to protect the health and safety of their employees, but stress can also have a significant impact on their business in that they won’t get the best out of staff. Sickness absence can also have the same negative effect.
It is therefore important for employers to assess and manage stress at work. They may want to consider the following:
- Regular stress audits and risk assessments: Speak to employees regularly about their stress levels and the reason for them. Identify the causes in the workplace and find ways of avoiding them.
- Anti-stress policy: Implement a policy setting out the employer’s attitude to stress and mental health problems in the workplace. Make clear the intention is to protect the mental health of employees and provide a process which will encourage them to seek support and assistance when needed.
- Training: Employers should train staff to recognise the symptoms of stress in themselves and in their colleagues. Spotting stress early and addressing the problem may help to prevent sickness absence, as well as any further incidents in the future.
- Support services: Consider providing confidential counselling services for employees to access which will help to address and alleviate their symptoms.
The HSE reported that 17 million working days in 2021/2022 were lost due to work-related stress, anxiety and depression. Given that society is being actively encouraged to recognise and talk about mental health and wellbeing, it is likely that this number will only increase.
As with most things, prevention is better than cure, so if you do not have relevant anti-stress policies or employee wellbeing strategies in place in your business, you would be well advised to introduce them.
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