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As a business owner, your employees are your most important assets. So, making sure that they are fit and healthy, both mentally and physically, needs to be a key priority.

The recent pandemic has created an array of factors that have reduced levels of emotional wellbeing. And recent research, conducted by health insurance providers BHSF, revealed that only a minority of workers would be happy discussing mental health, financial worries or grief with their line manager.

Preventative health management

So, what can be done to improve the situation? That old saying “prevention is better than a cure” is never more true or relevant than when looking at businesses. Business leaders consider preventative health management today as a crucial strategic objective in securing business excellence.

But like many business issues, it starts at the top with great leadership and a clear direction. Employers need to do more to educate and support managers. This may include creating a culture where its ok to talk about personal things and being able to offer other sources of wellbeing support and connection, whether that’s internally, via employee assistance programmes, or externally using a counselling service.

Developing new routines

Also with better management training, they would be able to look out for signs of stress and people struggling, particularly in a remote environment. After all, if your manager routinely asked you how you were and made it ok for you to discuss any worries you were having, it would help build your confidence to speak up and speak out. Plus, if you were kept updated and encouraged to feedback on any issues, things would surely be different.

It’s worth pointing out that employees must feel confident enough to highlight bad working practices, such as unmanageable workloads and/or poor work-life balance, which may be making any pre-existing mental health conditions worse. After all, open, honest, two-way communication can make a real difference in how we can support each other to cope with challenging times.

Benefits of positive mental wellbeing

Those organisations who proactively engage with positive mental wellbeing, will benefit from:

  • An increase in performance and productivity
  • Increased engagement
  • Reduced absence
  • Fall in ill health
  • Improved employee motivation
  • Greater staff retention rates
  • Increased competitiveness
  • Positive change in attitude and culture and process surrounding mental health

Whilst the continued use of wellness and resilience programmes leads to fit, active and productive employees. And employers who demonstrate care and concern for employee health and wellbeing are usually rewarded with high levels of loyalty with employees four times more likely to stay with the business. This last point is pertinent, particularly considering “The Great Resignation.”

Finally, it’s not all doom and gloom, the BHSF research illustrated some positive findings. The most notably of which was that almost three in five (57 per cent) of respondents said that their employer had more respect for mental health issues than they did a year ago! That’s good progress, but there’s still more to achieve.

How can we help?

If you need any help, support and advice on how you can change attitudes, culture and processes to create a happier, calmer and more productive working environment please contact caroline.robertson@actifhr.co.uk for non-obligatory advice.