Is Your Business Mental Health Policy Right for Your Workforce?
Mental health is not black and white, it is a grey area in business, which is why there is no one-size-fits-all mental health policy that can meet the mental health needs of every employee in your workforce. Onebright looks at what every business mental health policy needs to include and how business owners can get employees on board.
People are complex. Everyone manages their workloads and balances their personal lives differently. People prefer different methods of communication, and they showcase their strengths in different ways. That is why it is important for business leaders to recognise that no two people are the same and that it is vitally important all employees have access to a menu of different support when they are worried about their mental health.
Mental health conditions cost UK employers more than $100 billion and 217 million lost workdays each year. Implementing mental health support for your employees pays dividends, increases productivity and employee retention, and plays a huge role in whole-person well-being — including emotional, psychological and social well-being.
Every day, businesses implement individual steps to manage their daily operations to ensure processes, performance, and people are operating smoothly. In short, employers have a legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of their employees at work and to provide a safe working environment for their employees. This may or may not specifically cover workers’ mental health, but outlining a business’s mental health policy is an important first step to promoting workplace mental health and reducing the stigma of mental illness at work.
How can businesses create procedures and levels of mental health support to fit their employees and their businesses?
For businesses to implement mental health support that is credible and that their employees believe in, it is important for business leaders to champion and endorse it. By leading from the top and talking about their mental health, business leaders and managers can cement a caring and trusting culture that encourages colleagues to speak out and seek help when required.
Prevention is key
Conversations can help to identify underlying issues and concerns that your employees have about their mental health and help you to gain a greater understanding of the support they may need.
Everyone within an organisation is responsible for creating a culture which cares about others. Encourage teams to stay connected and host regular check-ins which are conversational and relaxed, thus providing employees with the opportunity to talk about their work/life balance and anything that they may be finding challenging. This can help team leaders to notice when someone is feeling overstretched at work and help them to manage their workload and work/life balance.
Be flexible in your approach
Your employees will all have different ways of working and different ways of dealing with challenges. If an employee feels like they aren’t coping with their workload, are stressed or burned out and need adaptations to their work or role, it can help if managers are as flexible as possible to help keep the person at work.
Look at what modifications can be considered concerning someone’s role, such as adjusting hours, workload, tactics, breaks, or perhaps providing an employee with a mentor.
Mental healthcare inside the workplace is very important; however, it is also important that individuals take active steps to look after their own mental health as well. Ensure your management teams make a note to implement a few of these tips from our Onebright mental health training expert:
Top tips for managing your mental health at work-
- Prioritise tasks
- Set yourself reasonable deadlines
- Leave on time and take regular breaks
- Stay hydrated and eat well
- Provide space for strength-based learning
- Focus on what you love about your job
- Think about what type of person you want to be at work
How can you ensure employees know how to find help?
If you have one, signpost people to a mental health first aider within your organisation or an employee assistance programme. Perhaps look to integrate a page on your intranet or employee communications system about how people can access national support – such as NHS Mental Health, Onebright, and Samaritans – but also check that the organisations are credible and based on evidence-based solutions.
Ensure all employees are aware of the support available to them, putting practical and easy-to-understand steps in place will act as a signpost for your team and ensure that everyone knows who they can reach out to.
Good mental health is good for business
Business leaders should not try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to creating a mental health policy that works for their busy management leaders and equally busy employees. Instead, shift your focus to creating a workplace culture that is adaptable, open and considerate of the different types of help your employees may need.
To book a consultation on managing your mental health policy with mental health experts, talk to the team at Onebright.