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Mental health problems are increasingly impacting the workplace, with one in four people experiencing a mental health problem in any given year*.
This means in a small business of 40, ten people could potentially be struggling from mental health difficulties, such as depression or anxiety. Coverage of these issues in the media is helping to raise awareness amongst employees and encourage employees to speak up about issues that are causing them stress and leading to more complex mental health problems.
As an employer it can sometimes be hard to identify when one of your employees isn’t feeling at their best. We’ve outlined three core areas to be aware of which may indicate that an employee could be suffering from mental health issues:
The workplace environment can also add to mental health issues amongst your workforce. Signs of stress in a group of people within a business can become apparent through increased dissatisfaction, complaints/disputes being raised, increase in staff turnover and grievances against managers.
An increase in customer/client complaints can also highlight dissatisfaction and may be a sign that individuals and teams within the business are not coping with workload, failing to communicate effectively and/or feeling under pressure.
The following factors can contribute to mental health issues amongst your team
For employees who acknowledge that they’re not coping well, there is a wealth of online resources and support available (e.g. Mind). These self-help materials offer advice on how to maintain a better work/life balance by prioritising effectively, as well as increasing exercise, making better food choices and getting quality sleep.
SME owners should direct employees to seek necessary support via their GP, occupational health service or employee counselling helplines.
Make your workplace environment a positive place to be, by offering support to your team through:
Be mindful that changes in workplace culture need to be modelled from the top down, i.e. managers must lead by example by demonstrating healthy behaviour to their employees and ensuring they promote a healthy work/life balance.
This can include encouraging your staff to take regular breaks, as well as using all their holiday and avoiding out of hours emails. It’s also important to recognise the support systems that families bring to your employees, by inviting them to join in with social events and allowing employees to work flexibly when they have family commitments.
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