By Jane Sunley, Author + Founder of Purple Cubed
According to a study by Deloitte, poor mental health costs employers between £33bn and £42blth every year, with an annual cost to the UK economy of between £74bn and £99bn. Yet even today employers who proactively support mental at work are in a minority – this must change.
‘Thriving at Work’, the Stevenson/Farmer review of mental health and employment sets out what employers can do to better support all employees, including those with mental health problems, to remain in and thrive at work.
Deloitte’s analysis shows that investments made in improving mental health show a consistently positive return on investment.
Just as everyone has physical health, be it thriving, struggling or being ill and possibly off work, the same applies to mental health. This is inextricably linked to becoming a great place to work, where people are doing work they enjoy, contributing to a purpose they believe in and are supported, respected and cared for. In some environments, the subject of mental health is still stigmatised. It’s therefore important to view it in same way as physical health so that talking about mental health at work becomes a normal thing (it helps if senior people who’ve been affected can tell their stories).
Stevenson/Farmer set out a vision, in their view wholly realistic, that in ten years’ time the following will be happening:
•”Employees in all types of employment will have ‘good work’, which contributes positively to their mental health, our society and our economy.”
• “Every one of us will have the knowledge, tools and confidence, to understand and look after our own mental health and the mental health of those around us.”
Our recommendations towards achieving this are set out in this 10-point plan:
1. Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan
2. Develop mental health awareness among employees
3. Facilitate open two-way dialogue on an ongoing basis
4. Develop managers and others to spot the signs that someone might be struggling
5. Review work-life balance and make adjustments (such as allowing people to handle their own rotas)
6. Avoid micro-managing in favour of roles clarity, clear expectations and letting people get on with things
7. Develop nurturing leadership traits such as support, respect, emotional intelligence, coaching, listening
8. Enable conversations about mental health and make sure you know where to signpost people for support if they’re struggling
9. Provide employees with good working conditions, ensure they have a healthy work life balance and opportunities for development
10. Monitor employee mental health and wellbeing.
For a 12 step plan to becoming a great place to work read The People Formula
Purple Cubed is a high-end boutique people consultancy offering expertise and tools for organisations that want to improve business results and growth through harnessing the power of their people.