There has been increasing public awareness, political concern, and corporate action on mental health in the UK in recent years. This comes amid more referrals to mental health services, an explosion in prescriptions for anti-depressants, an increase in work days lost to mental health problems, and a stark rise in suicide, particularly among young men. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, stress and anxiety will only be exacerbated.
In this webinar, we explored employers’ moral and legal responsibility towards their staff’s wellbeing. We were also joined by DAC Beachcroft’s Head of Employee Relations Ben Morris and Pinsent Masons LLP’s Diversity and Inclusion Consultant Kate Dodd to explore initiatives that businesses have introduced to good effect and what lessons have been learnt.
Work-related stress and mental health problems often go together, and the symptoms can be very similar.
Work-related stress can aggravate an existing mental health problem, making it more difficult to control. If work-related stress reaches a point where it has triggered an existing mental health problem, it becomes hard to separate one from the other.
Under health and safety at work legislation, employers have a duty of care to their staff. This duty of care encompasses having staff take a stress and mental health risk assessment and then acting on it. This means they should take all steps which are reasonably possible to ensure their health, safety, and wellbeing. Legally, employers must abide by the relevant health and safety and employment law, as well as their common law duty of care.
Shifting the conversation on mental health and employee wellbeing
Many businesses want to do training on mental health, to make it part of the induction process or roll it out to tens of thousands of employees in multiple sites. But the problem is that the vast majority of mental health training solutions require onsite, day-long, classroom-based external sessions—a significant time and cost investment that often only the largest or most progressive companies can afford.
The growth of mental health first aiders has of course greatly expanded the numbers of workers who have contact with a trained professional, but this still does not solve the problem of how to get everyone in a company to understand the key issues and aspects of mental health.
Around one in four adults in the UK experience mental health issues. These problems can often be exacerbated by work. The problem is that the vast majority of mental health training solutions require onsite, day-long, classroom-based external sessions that require a significant time and cost investment. Only the largest or most progressive companies can afford this form of training.
Convincing leadership to include company-wide mental health training in their budget and that effective training doesn’t need to come at a huge cost has proven to be a real challenge. VinciWorks has created a short guide to help present a business case for mental health training and get board buy-in.
The guide covers:
Some of the difficulties in getting board-level buy-in for action on mental health
Shocking statistics surrounding wellbeing at work
Guidance on how to get buy-in for mental health training
Business’ legal requirement to provide mental health training
With new research showing that poor mental health costs UK employers £45 billion a year, now more than ever is the time to take action on wellbeing. Mental health-related problems for businesses, including presenteeism, absences, and staff turnover, have increased 16% since Deloitte’s last survey in 2016.
Changes in work practices, particularly the ‘always on’ culture, have made it harder for employees to disconnect during their downtime, and employers haven’t yet figured out how to adapt to this new work culture.
Research from the CIPD found that two fifths of UK businesses have seen an increase in stress-related absences, with management style increasingly identified as the source of stress.
VinciWorks’ new mental health course has been shortlisted for this year’s InsideOut award in the Best Use of Technology category. Future of Works Insights is organising the awards. The organisation provides global insight, intelligence and the latest trends in corporate wellness from around the world through white papers, reports, research, webinars, case studies and more.
What are the InsideOut awards?
On 26 March 2020 in London Future of Work Insights will host the inaugural InsideOut Mental Health Awards, celebrating our mental health and those organisations and individuals who champion it. The evening itself will be very different to any other awards ceremony and will provide a unique experience of celebration, networking, entertainment and dancing with the industry’s finest. You can purchase tickets to attend the event here. VinciWorks will be competing with Santander and the Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Trust Foundation in the Best Use of Technology category.
The estimated cost of mental ill-health to UK employers each year is between £33 billion and £42 billion, totalling around 91 million lost working days. About 10% of these losses were due to staff replacement costs, 30% down to people being off sick (absenteeism) and 60% of the cost due to reduced productivity at work (presenteeism).
Two-thirds of UK CEOs considered the mental health of their employees as a priority, but only 16% had a defined strategy in place to help them.
“The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 requires all businesses in the UK to provide whatever information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of employees.”
Despite the legal requirement, health and safety training has a bad reputation. Most people working in an office don’t want to do it, and won’t think about it much again. VinciWorks has released a health and safety course designed to make training more engaging and relevant to the user’s workplace.
Health and Safety for Office Workers
VinciWorks’ new course, Health and Safety for Office Workers, delivers short, interactive health and safety training units that are customised to the specific office they work in by default. Gone are the endless slides that bear little to no relevance to a person’s working environment. Health and Safety for Office Workers provides all the health and safety information in one place.
Despite the legal requirement, health and safety training, risk assessments and compliance have a bad reputation. Most people working in an office don’t want to do them and won’t think about these processes once they are completed.
In order to help organisations understand the importance of health and safety at work and improving the culture, in this webinar, VinciWorks’ Director of Course Development Nick Henderson was joined by Professor Andrew Sharman, Managing Partner of RMS, and President of IOSH (the Institution of Occupational Safety & Health). Professor Sharman called on his over two decades of experience in consulting with FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies such as Amazon, Coca-Cola, Carlsberg, IKEA and Mercedes-Benz to discuss some of the key trends in workplace health and safety and give guidance on improving health and safety culture at work.