With sick days on the rise, how can employers better understand and support staff wellbeing?
Research from the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) has found that the number of sick days taken by UK workers is at its highest level for a decade, with mental ill health a major factor.
Dr Ashley Weinberg, part of the University of Salford’s Mental Health and Wellbeing group and Senior Lecturer in Psychology, explains: “We have known for some time that as a society, we are experiencing a mental health crisis, and employers need to do more.”
Ashley explains that many potential solutions to support wellbeing could be ‘low cost or even free’.
“For instance, making time at senior boards to assess the impact of major (and more minor) decisions on the mental wellbeing of the workforce would inevitably lead to better consideration of what is humanly possible and healthy. It would also address the disconnect that many see between the higher levels of management and their front-line colleagues. After all, supportive management styles are commonly recognised as key to the mental health of staff in any sector.
“Other ideas might include coaching resources for staff in management roles, training on handling mental health issues sensitively, effective monitoring and promotion of psychological wellbeing and flexible workload models that recognise the full range of activities staff undertake in their role.
“This could include protected time for staff to focus on their wellbeing, staff wellbeing platforms that give everyone a voice for their concerns and suggestions, as well as email policies that relieve colleagues of pressures to respond in their own time or at anti-social hours. The importance of working practices that properly embrace equality, diversity and inclusion cannot be overstated.”
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