Thriving at Work Government Report
What You Need to Know
Last month a new government report was released, following an independent review into how employers can better support all employees, including those with mental health problems to remain in and thrive through work.
The report begins by stating that the UK is facing a mental health challenge at work that is much larger than anticipated:
‘Not only is there a big human cost of poor mental health at work, there are also knock on impacts for society, the economy and Government. Employees are losing billions of pounds because employers are less productive, less effective, or off sick.’
At Work Well Being, this is something which we are well aware of, but we believe there is a huge opportunity for workplaces to be a force for positive change, supporting people to live their lives well; and in turn doing better business.
The Cost of Poor Mental Health
While there are more people at work with mental health conditions than ever before, 300,000 people with a long term mental health problem lose their jobs each year.
‘The human cost is huge, with poor mental health having an impact on the lives of many individuals and those around them. This manifests itself in a variety of ways both at work and at home, and impacts a person’s ability to manage other elements of their personal life’
And of course, the cost to business is huge too:
The Vision that the report sets out is that in 10 years time, all organisations, whatever their size, will be:
Equipped with the awareness and tools to not only address but prevent mental ill- health caused or worsened by work;
Equipped to support individuals with a mental health condition to thrive from recruitment, and throughout the organisation;
Aware of how to get access to timely help to reduce sickness absence caused by mental ill health;
How Can This Vision be Achieved?
The report has established a set of “mental health core standards” – a framework for a set of actions which they would like to see all organisations implement:
Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan
Develop mental health awareness among employees
Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling
Provide your employees with good working conditions
Promote effective people management
Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing.
Part of achieving these standards includes a recommendation that the Health and Safety Executive revise its guidance to raise employer awareness of their duty to assess and manage work-related mental ill-health. Just as an employer has a duty to assess and manage work-related physical ill-health, so too does that duty extend to the risks on mental health such as undue work pressure, poor line management or unreasonable demands; which are all too often ignored.
Taking Action - How We Can Help
When workplaces play an active role in supporting their people to live life well, the benefits to the individual, business and wider society are clear.
The report found that the return on investment of workplace mental health interventions is overwhelmingly positive. The average return per £1 spent was £4.20.
Our fully managed wellbeing programmes make it simple for smart businesses to start building healthy workplaces immediately. Our approach is one of prevention, empowering employees with the knowledge and skills to take care of their mental wellbeing, rather than attempting to ‘problem fix’ when mental illness occurs.
The full Thriving at Work report can be accessed here