As highlighted in our recent article on workplace mental health, poor mental health is costing employers between £33 billion and £42 billion every year, with the total impact on the UK economy ranging from £74 billion to £99 billion. It is therefore no surprise that businesses of all sizes perform far better when their workforce is healthy, happy and motivated. But where does the responsibility lie in making this a reality? Does the employee have an obligation to be fit for work, or should the employer ensure that their staff have the right environment?

Employers who want the best for their business should be making good mental health a top priority.

Duty of Care

Strong leadership and supportive management are key to managing and promoting positive mental health in the workplace. Many employees feel that their relationship with their line manager and other workplace seniors has a direct effect on how they feel about themselves at work. In fact, research in this field has revealed a wealth of evidence linking management and leadership to workplace mental health.

On top of this, work is often one of the most stressful factors in people’s lives, which is why it is imperative that managers and team leaders regularly check-in with their colleagues to see how they are finding their work life. As well as allowing employers more visibility to their employees’ mental health, these catch-ups will make staff feel more supported and valued, meaning they will be far more likely to open up if they do feel that they need more support with their mental health.

Once managers are aware of any employee mental health conditions, they have the power to tailor work life for particular members of their team. This may include tweaking their workload, carefully considering the tasks that they are given, perhaps something as simple as where they sit in the office. This is not only an important part of an employer’s legal duty of care, it is also vital to your organisation’s values and ethical responsibility.

The benefits of ensuring good mental health in the workplace go further than creating an environment where employees can be happy, motivated and healthy. The knock on effects of this environment can be felt in areas such as improved productivity and reduced staff turnover, ultimately having a positive impact commercially.

Supporting employees outside the workplace

While management and workplace culture can both play a key role in affecting employee mental health, employers can only support their staff’s mental health within the work environment. Business owners, team leaders and line managers cannot truly give employees holistic mental health support, nor can they control or improve their employees’ lives outside of the workplace. They can make a significant difference in giving their employees the tools they need to do it for themselves. This is where an employee assistance programme (EAP) can step make the difference. As experts in providing EAP support, CiC have a wealth of experience in assisting employees who are struggling with mental health. The right employee assistance programme can help prevent sick leave as well as helping employees address the nature of their mental health condition, in order to effectively resolve and  prevent it, promoting a strong and positive mental health moving forward.

Supporting a team member in order to keep them on as a healthy, productive and supported employee says a great deal about your company values and your dedication to your employees. For every £1 invested in employee assistance programmes, the business return ranges from £1.50 to £9. CiC’s EAP team consists of counsellors and psychotherapists who are full-qualified and equipped to clarify the issues that your employees are facing and provide them with the expert support they need.

While managers play a large part in terms of supporting and promoting good mental health in the workplace, it requires strong leadership to invest in the best services such as CiC’s employee assistance programme, to ensure your human capital is able to access the appropriate level of support.