Mental health at work - 5 simple and proactive steps every business can take


Between 2020 and 2024, mental health problems in the workplace have increased. This is due to multiple coinciding issues, most predominately the ensuing problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing cost of living crisis.

In total, poor employee health and low employee productivity costs the UK economy around £138 billion a year[1].

And cases of work-related stress, anxiety, or depression are significantly higher than before the pandemic. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in 2022/23 there were approximately 875,000 cases of such work-related mental health issues[2].

The good news is that you can take positive action to help improve the situation – for both your business, and your employees. Read on for five suggestions.

1. Create a supportive environment

Make it easy for employees to openly discuss and raise issues that may be causing stress, anxiety, or depression at work. Everyone struggles at one time or another, so make it clear that they aren't alone and that no-one  truly stays mentally healthy all the time.

It might be helpful to set aside a regular time every week for the whole team to get together and share a relaxed, fun chat about topics that have little to do with work.

For example, a regular Monday morning meeting to talk about what you’ve been up to over the weekend and what’s coming up in the week ahead could help people feel more connected. This might also help to make it easier for team members to talk to their manager or colleagues if they are struggling.

2. Provide appropriate training to managers and team leaders

The relationship between managers and team members is key to a successful and healthy organisation.

To ensure that your management team are well informed and adequately equipped to support employees' mental health, it's crucial that they have the right training.

From external consultants to online training courses, with a variety of options to choose from, you’re bound to find a solution that suits your business needs.

Ideally, you want your managers to be able to spot the signs of mental health problems and encourage them to talk to their team. Sometimes a caring conversation can help encourage an employee to get help.

If you’re unsure where to start, speak to us. We have previously helped our clients send their line managers on mental health first aid training – and it was all paid for by their group income protection.

3. Be prepared to make reasonable adjustments

Since we all deal with stress differently, there's no “one-size-fits-all” solution.

One simple and effective way to support your team – and their mental health – is to sit down with them and ask what you can do.

Sadly, management style is one of the most common causes of workplace stress. So, communicating openly and listening to your employees could make a world of difference.

Flexible working is normal practice these days, and working to accommodate specific needs of your employees could go a long way to helping reduce potential stress and increase their productivity.

4. Offer and promote helpful workplace benefits

Pensions, health insurance, and lifestyle benefits could all make a positive difference to your employees.

People often forget how important their financial wellbeing is to their overall health and happiness. As such, free financial advice could be just as important as access to a counselling.

The cost of living crisis has created a variety of different financial problems and speaking to an expert could help provide reassuring and actionable advice. A financial adviser can help with investments and savings, pensions, and any financial protection that may offer a safety net and reduce potential stress.

A health cash plan can be another way to support workplace wellbeing and provide your staff with useful tools to help them care for their mental and physical health.

While there are a variety of health cash plans available, essentially, they provide an annual allowance that individuals can use to claim cashback on health benefits. These often include allowances for optician and dentists checks and physiotherapy treatment, access to counselling, and cash discounts at a wide range of retailers and entertainment venues, too.

Whatever your benefits package includes, it’s important to promote available benefits to your team and make it easy to access them. Aspira’s Bionic Benefits platform can help here, as it gives your employees 24/7 access to their benefits on a mobile device, laptop, or desktop.

The platform includes its own discount portal, offering savings on a wide range of popular brands across retail, hospitality, and travel. Crucially, it also offers some healthcare services including allergy testing and physiotherapy.

Having great benefits is only the start – it’s equally important to communicate and promote your offering. As such, we offer in-person seminars and roadshows as well as virtual workshops and webinars, to ensure that your whole team are aware of what’s available to help save them money and improve their health.

5. Help employees develop good workplace mental health habits

We all understand how crucial it is to maintain a healthy work-life balance, and doing so can help to keep productivity high. Working too hard, however, at the expense of their health and family, could cause employees to burn out.

So, be clear and insistent about the importance of taking regular breaks. The post-pandemic work from home culture makes this ever more vital as you may find that employees work longer hours and fail to take their full quota of annual leave.

Don’t let this slide – if you notice this occurring regularly with any of your employees, talk to them to find out why this is the case and encourage them to adjust their approach to ensure they take enough downtime to recharge.

Three simple solutions may involve:

  1. Exercise – offer free gym membership, set up an office lunchtime walking or running club, or host a weekly in-office yoga class.
  2. Healthy eating – stock the office with fresh fruit every Monday morning and serve a wholesome lunch or breakfast on a regular weekly or monthly basis.
  3. Leisure activities – provide at-desk massages or nail treatments, or run a monthly office book or film club to encourage people to get involved in non-work activities.

Strong mental wellbeing in the workplace is good for business

While these are just a few ideas, taking proactive steps to support your employees’ mental health and wellbeing could pay back in substantial business benefits. Indeed, with the right approach, you could enjoy:

  • Improved performance and productivity
  • Higher retention rates
  • Better morale
  • Reduced rates of employee absence
  • Greater levels of customer satisfaction
  • Increased creativity and innovation.

Get in touch

Aspira’s thoughtfully designed healthcare and wellbeing solutions help you to deliver on your commitment to staff and ensure your team remain engaged and motivated.

To find out more, email or call us on 0800 048 0150.

Please note

The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Aspira and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation for any investment or retirement strategy.




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