The pressures of remote working have firmly brought employee mental health into the spotlight during the last three years.
Before this global shift that seems to have affected every workplace, most of the focus was on keeping employees safe from accidents and injury. Physical safety still counts, but savvy employers are wondering what’s happening that they can’t see now that staff are returning to work.
Mental health issues have numerous triggers or causes and impact employees’ well-being, productivity and overall staff morale. But this is something employers can’t see or easily evaluate.
How to Manage Staff Mental Health
Some situations are going to be noticeable. If a staff member has had an accident either at work or outside work, shock and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are possible consequences.
Supporting staff returning to the workplace tends to focus on physical needs with psychological and emotional problems often unseen.
Personal injury attorneys like at Zinda Law Group always include damages for mental trauma as part of the settlements they seek on behalf of their clients. Often, these problems don’t manifest until weeks or months after an accident.
Untreated shock or trauma causes depression and may lead to anxiety and panic attacks. It impacts business in days lost because your employee is off sick.
Return to work protocols must factor in mental health and well-being as much as physical injuries. However, it’s easy to spot an individual worker who has had an incident. What about general overall mental health amongst the whole workforce?
Workplace Mental Health Protocols
There can be plenty of staff who have mental issues but who slip under the radar either because there has been no apparent or visible trigger, or they are hiding their issues successfully.
Data suggests that one in four people in the UK will have a mental health problem at some point. Work may not be causing the issue, but employers still have a duty to help their employees.
In 2017, the UK government commissioned an independent report led by the Chief Executive of the mental health charity, Mind. The commission sought to review how employers can better support individuals in the workplace with mental health conditions.
The subsequent report entitled ‘Thriving at Work’ sets out several actions called ‘Core Standards’, which can be put in place by all employers regardless of business type or size.
Key takeaways from the report include developing employee mental health awareness amongst employees to identify issues better and providing more openly available and accessible tools and support.
Any organisation can implement protocols that make mental health issues visible and acceptable. Create a reporting or support structure that encourages staff to seek help or support from others even if their problems stem from issues outside the workplace.
Employers must ensure the health and well-being of their staff. Putting mental health front and centre encourages a supportive and positive workplace. It also protects a business from the encroachment of silent problems which impact productivity and staff morale.