Mental Workplace

3 April 2017

Last year, the HSE launched a focus on mental wellbeing at work and reported that work-related ill health accounted for 45% of all working days lost 2015/16.  The average number of days for a work-related ill health absence is 24days.

There are three main triggers of work related ill health:-

Line managers unwittingly can contribute to stress, anxiety and depression in their teams with unmanageable workloads and unreasonable deadlines.  Managers have a lot of influence over the level of stress their team will experience.

People management skills are key to ensure managers know how to get the best out of their team without undue pressure.  Training managers to help them recognise good performance and tackle underperformance will help provide the required level of support.

Technology is a love/hate relationship with most people, having the facility to connect remotely with the office network via smartphone, tablet or laptop.  This can be beneficial for flexible or home working but, can also challenge employees to turn themselves off.  If working remotely and especially, before and after normal working hours employees should avoid checking messages, texts or emails and keep personal time for personal use.

Long Working Hours - having unmanageable workloads and devices which can connect remotely both contribute to excessive working hours.  

During emergencies or tight timescales, many employees are prepared to support the organisation and work earlier, later and at weekends.  Some employees become so used to working through their breaks, they end up having lunch at their desks everyday and even come into work when unwell rather than risk being behind in their workload.

How to Help
Productivity, profitability and resilience can be improved through active management and support of mental wellbeing.  It is in everyone’s interest to have clear support available for mental health in the workplace.

In order for people to be happy in their work, they must be fit for it, not be expected to do too much of it and have a sense of success.