The importance of workplace wellbeing: World Mental Health Day

This Tuesday 10th October is World Mental Health Day, and this year’s theme centres on the importance of workplace wellbeing. Encouraging good mental health in the workplace can support not only individuals, but also businesses themselves. So let’s explore the importance of workplace wellbeing, and how employers can help to encourage it.

The importance of workplace wellbeing

It’s hard to underestimate the importance of workplace wellbeing. It is vital for both employees and organisations that wellbeing is actively supported and good mental health encouraged. Encouraging good mental health is key to ensuring that employees feel motivated and supported in their job.

The International Labour Organisation, a specialised agency of the United Nations, highlights that ‘many studies show a direct link between productivity levels and the general health and wellbeing of the workforce’.

Combine that statement with the current evidence that suggests one in six employees experiences mental health problems, and it becomes clear that mental health is a key issue for businesses.

Indeed, the mental health charity, Mind, has demonstrated that not acknowledging or supporting good mental health can be costly for employers, with 42% of employees surveyed stating they had considered resignation when asked how workplace stress had affected them.

Workplace wellbeing is therefore something to be actively encouraged – but how can employers achieve this?

How to promote good mental health and wellbeing

So, how can employers promote good mental health and wellbeing in the workplace?

There are a number of ways for employers to help promote discussion and understanding of mental health:

Make your employees aware of your aim

Outline your aim as an organisation to promote and support workplace wellbeing. Consider making it a key aim of your organisation, and inform staff members of your commitment. Making this pledge will demonstrate to them that you are supportive, and are concerned for their wellbeing.

Provide support and guidance

Once you’ve pledged your commitment, become active about it by offering mental health support. This could be through appointing mental health first aiders or offering counselling sessions.

Organisations should consider actively supporting wellbeing. So rather than waiting for employees to speak out, employers could ask staff how they feel in terms of workplace wellbeing, and ways in which they feel it could be improved. Anonymous surveys may be a good way to achieve this.

Continued support

Although World Mental Health Day is a great way of encouraging discussion, and provoking thought, employers should ensure the mental health support they offer is all year round and not just for one day a year.

The key aspect is creating an environment where employees feel able to discuss any issues they may have.

The importance of workplace wellbeing: a summary

As we’ve seen, mental health is a key issue for both employees and businesses across the UK.

The importance of workplace wellbeing is clear: encouraging good mental health will benefit both employees, and businesses themselves.

Pledging your commitment to supporting workplace wellbeing is the first step to doing that.

For more information on how to get started promoting workplace wellbeing in your organisation, take a look at Mind’s guide to taking care of your staff.

Alternatively, as part of World Mental Health Day, the Mental Health Foundation has produced an e-book designed to help employers effectively support good mental health in the workplace.