It’s as much your responsibility, as it is theirs, to ensure the pendulum swings equally between your staff’s work and personal life. If not for their own sanity, then for the financial stability and profitability of your business. At least, that’s what recent figures are telling us.

Mental health problems cost the UK workforce nearly £35 billion a year1, according to the Centre for Mental Health.

That’s £3.1 billion in replacing staff who leave their jobs because of their mental health, £10.6 billion in sickness absence, and £21.2 billion in reduced productivity at work (also referred to as ‘presenteeism’).

These figures alone don’t take into account physical health problems that cause hundreds of thousands of workers across the country to miss days at work. According to the Office for National Statistics2, it’s estimated that around 137 million working days were lost last year from injuries and illnesses ranging from coughs and colds to depression and anxiety.

If you haven’t already switched your school of thought (like many businesses already have) to believing employees’ mental and physical health should be treated with the utmost importance, then you’re not only at risk of falling behind your competitors and failing to retain staff – but in danger of losing a substantial amount of money.

Have we made a strong enough business case yet? Make sure you start with these four pillars to ensure your employees are supported by a strong foundation of genuine care, trust, and support.


Help your employees achieve a clean bill of health


Healthcare providers pave the way in assisting organisations to get the best out of their employees, by helping employers offer tailored care pathways to look after long-term physical and mental health.

Services from this type of healthcare provider, such as full health screenings, can paint a picture of your employees’ current health and ways they can improve it, enabling your staff to be the best possible version of themselves.

And that’s not the only benefit; investing in a quality care system can ultimately reduce absenteeism, boost company morale, and lead to better productivity.


Encourage an open culture at work


This goes beyond an open-door policy. If your staff need to take a sick day because they’re suffering from a bout of depression or anxiety, they should be able to tell you that without facing any level of worry or judgement.

Make sure that no one suffers in silence by implementing an open and honest culture, where discussing mental health at work is actively encouraged and stigmas on the subject are an archaic thing of the past. Your office culture, after all, largely defines the image and feel of your business.


Not all illnesses are visible


Although some mental health conditions can carry obvious symptoms, spotting someone who may be experiencing them isn’t as easy as you may think; you never know what battle the person next to you may be fighting. So never assume anything and always treat sensitive issues that people may come to you about with respect.

It could be that your employee doesn’t want to discuss any details of the issue they’re having, and that’s okay too. If you ensure there is no stigma in your business surrounding sick days for mental health issues, then you’re sending out the right message to your staff – that you genuinely care about their wellbeing.


A great vision without great people is irrelevant


A company’s culture is sculpted by its leaders so, in order to create a working environment employees feel comfortable in, you need to make sure your senior management are on board with your philosophy and that they’re correctly trained in how to handle sensitive topics.

We understand that in some organisations it’s difficult to avoid a vertical hierarchy, however, by encouraging openness among senior management you’re allowing employees to feel a sense of belonging and trust in the company they work for.

Instilling these core values into your business will help to promote your employees’ wellbeing and happiness, ensuring you get the most out of your workforce, retain quality staff, and give them the best chances to thrive at work.


1 Centre for mental health

2 Office for National Statistics

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For more information about our preventative health products, visit Health Shield.