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Workplace wellbeing and the mental health agenda

It’s hard to argue against the benefits of a healthy workplace. What we’re talking about here is more than just a few yoga classes and a weekly massage – it’s about creating a culture where employees feel happy, engaged, safe and valued. And it’s not just about what happens at work either; research shows that there is a direct link between employee wellbeing and business growth.

Mental health at work: The statistics

Mental health is a growing issue in the workplace, and not just because it’s been featured in the media so much lately. Mental health issues are on the rise, especially among young people. According to one study, 44% of young people say they have experienced a mental illness or condition at some time in their life (Young Minds). Another report found that 75% of employers believe that stress levels have risen over the last decade (Mind).
In fact, it’s estimated that 120 million working days were lost due to stress-related issues such as anxiety and depression between 2008 and 2018 (Mind). The cost of mental health issues in the workplace is high; for example:

£4 billion lost due to absenteeism
£6 billion spent on sick pay each year

Loneliness and work

Loneliness is a growing problem in the workplace. A recent study of over 200,000 participants found that people who work long hours tend to be lonelier than those who work fewer hours, and that loneliness increases with age. This may be partly because of the loss of social networks that comes with retirement, but it’s also likely due to job stressors such as long commuting times and demanding workloads.
Loneliness can increase risk factors for heart disease, including high blood pressure and increased cholesterol levels. It has also been linked to poor sleep quality as well as increased alcohol consumption, smoking rates and substance abuse – all factors which can further damage health outcomes.

Employee burnout and mental health at work

Burnout is a state of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion caused by prolonged stress. It can lead to depression and anxiety if left untreated, as well as a loss of motivation and productivity at work.
When you’re working in an environment where you don’t feel supported or challenged enough, there’s more chance that you’ll feel stressed at work. Stress can be good when it keeps us alert and focused on achieving our goals—but too much stress over time can lead to burnout.

Workplace wellbeing, employee engagement and mental health

By contrast, a positive culture where employees feel supported and engaged is likely to be more effective at improving mental health. Engaged employees are more productive, loyal, innovative and creative. They are also less likely to take time off sick or experience high levels of stress.
In workplaces with good employee engagement scores, around one in five employees report feeling low or very low levels of stress compared with one in three workers who have low engagement scores. The difference between these figures highlights the potential benefits that workplace wellbeing activities can have on reducing stress levels among staff members – particularly if they’re supported by a positive company culture and healthy management practices that encourage employee engagement.

It’s important to note that while it’s important for managers to understand what contributes towards creating better working environments there may still be some barriers which prevent them from doing so; for example limited budgets could make it difficult for companies to invest in wellbeing activities without affecting their bottom line
Workplace wellbeing, culture and mental health

The workplace environment is only one of several factors that influence employee wellbeing. Culture is another, and it’s a significant factor because it’s not just about the work environment; it also affects how people interact with each other.

Culture is more than just our working hours or how we dress for work: it can be positive or negative, depending on the values of an organization. A healthy culture supports mental health by encouraging open communication, giving support when needed and promoting good mental health practices such as mindfulness at work and healthy eating.
Workplace wellbeing, trust and mental health

Workplace wellbeing is the new way of thinking about mental health in the workplace. It’s not just a buzzword; it means that companies are taking their employees’ mental health seriously and making changes to create happier, healthier workplaces.

Workplace wellbeing doesn’t just mean giving your employees time off work. It also means creating an office environment where people feel safe and respected, have good relationships with colleagues, have fun at work and feel like they make a positive difference to their organisations.

To achieve this you need healthy trust between staff members as trust is the foundation of a healthy workplace culture. Trust is based on honesty and openness – being truthful about what you know or don’t know; being willing to listen when others talk about themselves; being open with your thoughts and feelings about work-related issues; respecting others’ opinions even if they differ from yours (or those of management). Trust grows through communication – having conversations openly about difficult subjects such as performance reviews, conflict resolution strategies etc., so everyone feels heard & valued before reaching any conclusions together which include solutions that meet everyone’s needs equally well rather than just some people at expense of others.

Mental health is an important issue that needs to be addressed at work. Employees who feel engaged and supported by their employers are more likely to be productive and resilient. This means a stronger workforce, higher profits and better business outcomes.

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