Office staff all together

Talking about mental health at work

As a HR manager or member of the HR department you will know that your list of duties is often long and interchangeable, with responsibilities such as recruitment, learning and development, employee relations and staff scheduling being part of your daily routine. But does monitoring and maintaining good standards of mental health throughout a workforce lie within your professional duties? A recent survey by Pizza Hut and Mental Health UK found that 55% of employees thought that they were personally responsible for taking care of their mental health at work, while just 4% thought HR teams were accountable for the psychological wellbeing of their workforce. However, failure to address these issues can have detrimental effects on businesses in a number of ways – affecting turnover and talent retention – meaning that as a HR professional, it is important to start talking about mental health in the workplace.

With our ‘always on’ culture and increasingly busy lives, it comes as no surprise that we are a stressed out nation. But the latest statistics from the Labour Force Survey (LSF), published in HSE revealed the full extent of the stress, anxiety and depression that is work related. In 2015-2016 there were 488,000 cases of negative mental health caused by work, a prevalence rate of 1510 per 100,000 employees. 11.7 million days were lost due to stress, and it caused 37% of cases of ill health in the workplace. Industries such as education, health and social care and business were the worst affected.

More research highlighted another cause for work related stress other than tight deadlines and lack of support, placing the lengthy commute that has become the norm for many city workers as being a factor that is destroying wellbeing within the workforce. The study, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that staff who regularly commuted were prone to feeling dissatisfied, anxious and with a lack of meaning in their daily lives.

As further research also revealed that one in seven workers commuted for at least two hours every day, nurturing and implementing a flexible working policy could form part of a more active mental health strategy in the workplace, understanding a root cause of workplace stress and taking action to offer alternative ways of working.

In 2017, taking care of your employee’s wellbeing could help your workforce perform to the best of its ability. Enabling flexible working is one way to improve this – request a demo of IQ:timecard today to discover how simple it can be to enable remote working in your business.