Why ignoring mental health is bad for business (and what you can do about it).
A total of 61% of employees have reportedly experienced mental health issues either directly or partly related to work. Despite this, only 39% of organisations have policies or systems to support employees with mental health conditions.
Taking steps to support employees’ mental health is not only a moral obligation; it makes smart business sense. The Centre for Mental Health has revealed mental health-related absenteeism costs the economy
£8.4bn per annum, while presenteeism – employees who attempt to work through their illness – costs a whopping £15.1bn.
There are tangible benefits of investing in mental health, including improved employee retention and productivity. According to one study, every £1 invested in mental health training programmes can see a return of up to £10. Here are five ways to manage mental health effectively in your pharmacy:
1. Open-door policy
According to a survey by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH), just one in 10 employees feel comfortable talking to their line manager about a mental health condition. It is important that managers promote a culture where employees feel they can ask for support without being ridiculed, subjected to unfair treatment or marginalised.
2. Return to work interviews
If an employee takes frequent, short-term absences, carrying out a return to work interview will provide an opportunity to explore the nature of the absence. If there are signs that the employee is suffering from a mental health condition, you should explore what practical steps can be taken to assist them.
3. Watch out for the signs
By keeping an eye on changes in behaviour, you may be able to pick up on certain red flags. You may notice that they are more withdrawn, making uncharacteristic mistakes, or reacting differently to people or certain situations. This should prompt a conversation, which you should approach in a tactful, supportive way.
4. Absent periods
If short-term sickness evolves into longer-term absence, maintaining regular contact will help to determine whether there is anything you can do to assist them back to work, such as a phased return. If a return doesn’t look likely in the near future, plans can be made for temporary cover.
Remember, while it’s important that the employee must not feel cut off by their manager, employees should not feel harassed by frequent calls or visits. Always think carefully about the nature of the contact and its urgency.
5. Invest in training
Without proper training, managers may find it much harder to identify issues and miss opportunities for early intervention. Enrolling managers on mental health awareness courses will allow them to approach situations confidently and equip them with solutions.
If you are facing an issue related to an employee’s mental health, contact the NPA Employment Advisory Service on 0330 123 0558 or [email protected]