All managers know the workplace has an impact on people’s health and wellbeing although it is not the only factor. Evidence shows that, in general, being in work is good for health and beneficial to well-being and the benefits apply equally to all employees.
Poor conditions in the workplace however,characterised by high demand, low levels of control and poor support, can have a detrimental impact on health and well-being and limit the benefits of working for some people.
Employers obviously want to maximise productivity as well as support their employees. Therefore it is important that line managers understand how to create conditions that support and encourage good mental health whilst also recognising signs of ill health and providing the appropriate support. The stigma that unfortunately surrounds mental health creates a major obstacle. It can prevent
employees from talking about their problems to colleagues or managers because they fear
discrimination. This, together with a lack of awareness and confidence in knowing what
to do, can further exacerbate the issue by preventing the underlying issues from being
By improving mental health outcomes at work managers will benefit from:
• compliance with legislation such as the Equalities Act
• reduced grievance and discrimination
• demonstrable corporate social responsibility
• reduced staff turnover
• reduced sickness absence
• a healthier workplace
• better staff morale
• better customer service
• more committed staff, and
• skills retention.
Our key message is the importance of talking openly and with trust. We suggest practical steps that both managers and employees can take together to:
• match job requirements with an employee’s capabilities
• talk when an employee shows signs of distress
• keep in touch during sickness absence to offer support and plan for the return to work achieve a successful return to work
• support an employee to manage a longterm illness while staying in work, and
• access sources of support and information.
The way you manage staff who may be experiencing pressures at home and/or at work will have a significant impact on their resilience and mental health. Where line managers have the appropriate people management skills, employees are more likely to develop healthier ways of coping with their competing pressures.
What you can do to support your staff
UK organisations who are leading the way in understanding, identifying and supporting the need for good mental health in the workplace are investing in developing their managers.
Mental Health First Aid ( MHFA) is one way to educate your employees to spot the first signs of mental ill health and give them the knowledge and confidence to help those in distress.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Management Standards use a risk assessment process to help organisations identify the extent and causes of employees’ work-related stress and suggest ways that everyone in the organisation can work together to find ways of preventing and managing stress more
effectively. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Investors in People have also developed a stress managementcompetency framework for line managers. It sets out the key behaviours to help managers mitigate and manage stress at work and helps
them identify their strengths and areas for improvement.
To see a short (8 minute) video on Healthcare On Demand personnel talking about effective management interventions in the workplace, please click HERE.
With thanks to our colleagues at Alliotts ,Chartered Accountants and Business Advisors, for sponsoring this event.