What is 'Good Work' and Will It Be Part of Your Workplace 2023 Mental Health Policy?

Experts Advise a Mental Health Audit is Crucial For Businesses

Just as poor work experiences can exacerbate a pre-existing mental health issue, The Royal College of Psychiatrists’ research shows that ‘good work’ also significantly impacts mental health. These findings are crucially important for employers putting together an inclusive 2023 mental health policy. 

What is ‘good work’?

The concept of ‘good work’ is not just about ensuring that jobs do not make people ill; it is about organising work to promote good physical and mental health. This, in turn, should lead to greater employee and employer benefits, job satisfaction, talent retention, career progression, and engagement.

There are a few key principles that underpin the definition of Good Work: These include:
  • Job security
  • Fair pay reflective of the role
  • A good work/life balance
  • An appropriate balance of power between workers and employer
  • A safe and healthy environment
  • Promotion of productivity
  • Prevention of isolation
  • Appropriate autonomy and control
  • Opportunity for progression


Unfortunately, not all jobs adopt a ‘good work’ ethic or even have a workplace mental health policy in place. A mental health policy can help define the overall vision of your company’s approach to mental health while also providing benchmarks for preventing and treating mental disorders and promoting mental health in your workplace.

How can a workplace 2023 mental health policy help people?

It is well-researched that mental ill health can have a detrimental effect on employee productivity, collaboration, and happiness, which only spells bad news for your employees and business.

Research by Public Health England shows the most vulnerable people with mental health conditions are more likely to work in precarious roles with part-time or temporary hours, high turnover, and low pay. This highlights the importance of implementing a comprehensive workplace mental health policy that doesn’t simply tick boxes but helps establish your business as one that sees mental health issues on the same level of importance as physical well-being.

The importance of keeping people in work

The public health system puts significant resources into achieving the goal of getting and keeping people in work, with NHS England investing £10 million in 2018 to support up to 20,000 people with mental health issues to maintain or gain employment.

When society fails to acknowledge that at least one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health condition at some point in their lives, the human and economic cost of isolation and more serious mental health conditions grows. Since maintaining a working life is essential in promoting mental health, keeping people linked to some work is a significant focus for the mental health profession.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has recommended that psychiatrists directly advocate with employers on patients’ behalf, where appropriate, to keep them in work and reduce stigma. Employers shouldn’t wait for a psychiatrist to contact them, advocating for a patient. The position statement recommends employers take various actions to support mental well-being at work.

How do businesses develop ‘good work’ mental health policies?

Mental health policies can be explicitly designed to support employees struggling with mental conditions to remain in work – or return to it. Through clinically-led mental health training, managers and business leaders are better equipped to have conversations that are not always easy but should not be shied away from. The focus should be placed on what can be done to support the employee’s mental well-being – not on diagnosing an ‘illness.’

No policy will be perfect, and people struggling with mental health can often react unexpectedly, but having some guidelines to refer to can still be helpful.

Bring in Onebright to support you in building a comprehensive mental health policy

For businesses looking to create their first mental health policy in 2023, consider bringing in occupational mental healthcare services like Onebright. While managers should be confident enough to talk to their staff about their issues, they are not professionals. This can include everything from obtaining good training for managers from professionals to providing talk therapy directly to employees.

Ultimately, this support for employees will help the workplace as much as the individual employees. Workers struggling with their mental health can disrupt others – and if they leave employment, they can take vast troves of experience and knowledge with them. When you work with Onebright, you can gain new insights and mental health analytics to help you make important decisions for your people and your business.

Get in touch to make Onebright your mental health partner. 


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