The Independent review on workplace wellbeing, commissioned by Prime Minister Theresa May and published today, has acknowledged that stress and anxiety are the biggest cause of workplace absence and we need to take action.
Work-related stress accounted for 45 per cent of working days lost to ill health in 2015/16 and around 70 million working days are missed annually due to mental ill-health. The report Thriving at work estimates the cost to UK employers at up to £42 billion per year and lays out why a change of attitude and practice is good for business.
Aly Anderson CEO of local charity Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire (CPSL) Mind says: “We welcome this important review, which highlights the needs of employees and focuses the eyes of employers to better ways of working – everyone benefits”.
As a charity delivering local mental health services, CPSL Mind works with local people who are experiencing significant mental distress each and every day, including many individuals who feel overwhelmed by work stress. “Generally speaking, work is good for our wellbeing but problems arise when individuals feel overwhelmed and they don’t get the support they need. This is a health and safety issue and employers have a responsibility to put measures in place to mitigate the risks of workplace stress but also to support those who are experiencing distress.
“That said, the benefits of developing a positive workplace culture around well-being, prevention and early intervention are clear both from a business and human perspective. By tackling stigma and meeting employees’ wellbeing needs, staff will be happier in their work, staff retention is likely to increase and this in turn will impact positively on productivity.”
CPSL Mind’s Training Manager Ruth Brown has been working with a range of local employers who are appreciating the value of training managers in being able to identify and respond to staff in difficulty before their problem became a crisis. “We work with a lot of employers locally who are now recognising the benefits of investment in staff wellbeing and, in particular, measures in relation to prevention and early intervention.
“In the past, businesses may have invested in the occasional, one-off ‘wellbeing day’ but now we are starting to see a much more strategic approach to this issue and a recognition that positives cultures and attitudes around mental health need to be embedded across organisations – and it needs to come from the very top.”
Directing comment at executives and senior leaders Aly Anderson urges them to take up opportunities now. “We all know that people are the biggest asset of any organisation. Today’s report acknowledges the fact that proactively addressing issues around workplace wellbeing needs to play a vital part in how we all do business.”
To find out more about CPSL Mind’s ‘Managing wellbeing in the workplace’ courses together with Mental Health First Aid and suicide prevention, visit: http://www.cpslmind.org.uk/training-services.
For details of a free Webinar designed to support individuals experiencing stress, low mood or anxiety please see tinyurl.com/mind-moodboost