How can employee benefits support mental health at work?

Talk to Us is the Samaritans annual awareness campaign. Every July, their branches across the UK hold local events to talk about the services they offer in their communities.

With this month being Talk to Us 2019, we thought it would be important to discuss mental health within the workplace. Work is a major part of our lives; it is where we spend much of our time, how we support ourselves financially and often, where we make our friends. Having a fulfilling job that provides you with everything you need is vital for good mental health and your general wellbeing.

It is normal that some jobs can at time become very stressful, and when that stress affects your mental health, it can be difficult to cope and feel fulfilled at work.

As an employer, it is vital that you support employee mental health. Good management and the provision of supportive benefits work together to aid good mental health in the workplace and will help reduce absenteeism, raise productivity and manage health costs if private health insurance is being provided.

 

Taking care of your employees – it’s important

According to Mind, the charity for better mental health:

  • More than one in five people have agreed that they have called in sick to avoid work when asked how workplace stress had affected them.
  • 14% of people had agreed that they had resigned and 42% had contemplated resigning when asked how workplace stress had affected them.
  • 56% of employers said they would like to do more to improve staff wellbeing but don’t feel they have the right training or guidance.

 

Starting a conversation about mental health doesn’t have to be difficult

Even if you don’t think any of your team is suffering with stress or mental health issues, it’s important that you check in with your workforce both informally and formally. Speak to your staff regularly to see how they are doing, how they are managing their workload and how they are feeling at work.

 

Provide employee benefits that make a difference

Wellbeing is vital, and the provision of employee benefits that make a positive difference to employee wellbeing and happiness such as employee assistance programmes can provide the right initial support through through confidential counselling services and access to information that give employees support when they need it most. By offering an EAP, employees can seek help during the early stages of a problem, which can prevent it from turning into something more serious.

Other benefits such as financial wellbeing strategies can support employee’s mental health by reducing stresses from outside the workplace such as debt worries. Cycle to work schemes and gym discount offerings also encourage employees to look after themselves and exercise has many positive effects on mental health.

It is vital that as an employer, you remember that every mental health disorder is different. The best way you can support mental health at work is to treat everyone as an individual. Get to understand your workforce and see what they need. Once you understand them as individuals, you can supply employee benefits that make a difference and support their mental health. To see how Busy Bees Benefits can support your employees mental health with the introduction of employee benefits, call us on 0330 333 9100 or email information@busybeesbenefits.com.

If you are worried that someone within your workplace may be experiencing feelings of isolation and disconnection, you should speak to them. Encourage the person to contact the Samaritans through their free 24-hour helpline on 116 123.