Right now, there’s a mental health crisis in your organisation – and it’s affecting employees at every level. But despite the prevalence of mental distress and increased public conversation and awareness, it’s still a taboo topic. Our research shows that most of your workers are reluctant to talk openly and say how they’re truly feeling. The unique pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic, including economic instability, isolation, and blurred work-life boundaries, have only compounded the crisis.
But on the flipside, it’s also emphasised the importance of effective employee wellbeing programmes. And just as the pandemic has acted as a catalyst for more flexible ways of working, it’s also highlighted the value of agile employee wellbeing solutions.
Investing in employee health and wellbeing
Your organisation needs mentally healthy employees to thrive. Research shows that by investing in workplace wellbeing, you can benefit your organisation’s bottom line.
Lots of organisations are already doing exactly this. They are taking a proactive approach and investing in effective employee wellbeing programmes, and reaping rewards including:
- increased trust between senior leaders and workers
- higher productivity and staff retention
- improved reputation, including among prospective applicants
In fact, you can’t afford not to prioritise employee health and wellbeing.
Mental ill health has a huge financial impact – over 70 million working days each year are lost to mental health problems in the UK alone. It contributes to high staff turnover: at SilverCloud Health, our research shows that those suffering from anxiety or depression are over three times more likely to quit their job. And it saps the productivity of employees who may be present at work but aren’t fully engaged – otherwise known as ‘presenteeism’.
Nurturing a positive environment
Creating a mentally healthy workplace and defusing the stigma of mental ill health requires a multi-pronged approach. One that promotes employee health and wellbeing but also builds resilience and supports staff experiencing mental health problems. This means embedding a versatile employee wellbeing programme, comprising of effective measures that support mental health and get the best out of your workforce.
It should have defined, easy-to-access wellbeing policies, covering topics such as home working and wellbeing-focused benefits – these might include offering fitness classes or supporting employee volunteering. It should also ensure that your employees have a positive physical environment to work in, whether they’re in the office or at home.
And your programme needs to build a mentally healthy culture, too. Where senior staff are role models and take the lead on healthy behaviours, and regular manager-employee check-ins are the norm. This can help you create the kind of workplace where employees feel empowered and listened to – and aren’t afraid to raise their concerns.
A digital dimension to your employee wellbeing programme
Another key feature of an effective employee wellbeing programme is giving workers access to therapeutic tools they can use to manage and take control of their mental health.
There are lots of factors you need to consider when choosing an employee wellbeing solution for your workforce – and because each of your employees has individual needs and circumstances, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Everyone’s mental health experience is different.
But evidence-based, data-driven digital wellbeing solutions can help you simultaneously scale and personalise your wellbeing programme to suit your employees’ needs.
They can be easily integrated into broader wellbeing offerings and alongside human support. Crucially, they are accessible and anonymous, giving employees total control… and they are significantly cheaper than face-to-face therapies. They also deliver results: research shows that internet-delivered Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT) is effective at treating depression and anxiety.
Taking steps to create a mentally healthy workplace
There’s no doubt that employee mental health is a complex issue.
But you can take simple steps today to support your staff and help remove the prevailing stigma around mental health.
The best place to start is to examine and review what you’re currently doing to build a mentally healthy workplace – and bring your employees into the conversation. And for inspiration, look to other wellbeing-aware organisations and discover more about the opportunities offered by digital innovation.
Find out how you can use digital employee wellbeing solutions to help create a healthier and more productive workforce.