According to Statista: In 2018 male, full-time employees in the United Kingdom worked an average of 39 hours a week, with women working an average of 34.1 hours a week
Our PAID working week may end after 39 hours, but how many of us are answering calls, checking emails and logging in after hours to catch up, check-in or get ahead of the working week?
These hours are not only unpaid but are also unchecked and unregulated. As a result, many individuals are becoming overwhelmed and burnt out due to their inability to ‘switch off’ and ‘destress’.
According to the Health and Safety Executive work-related stress, anxiety or depression accounted for over half of all the workdays lost due to ill-health in Great Britain.
This is a HUGE number of workdays lost, and the cost to businesses and the UK economy runs into billions of pounds every year.
What Can be Done?
In 2017 the Stevenson / Farmer Review of Mental Health was published to address the growing need for both government and employers to take more accountability to address mental health in the workplace. The review uncovered the vast losses businesses were experiencing due to mental health-related illness and presenteeism.
The review called for change across the board for employers to help their staff and for government to support them both financially and strategically while implementing a broad and varied range of solutions.
The review was well received, but how can we, as employers on the ground, with limited resources and knowledge, begin to make the necessary changes that have an impact and long term, positive outcomes?
To prevent stress from developing into more severe symptoms such as anxiety or depression, measures must be taken to reduce stress in the workplace and create space for employees to rest, switch off and recharge.
“Employers have a hugely positive role to play in improving the nation’s mental health, and it also makes perfect business sense to keep our colleagues as mentally fit and productive as possible. I particularly welcome the fact that the review suggests practical steps that large and small businesses can take to start moving forward on this vital topic.”
Sir Ian Cheshire, Heads Together
“Practical solutions are often best derived through engagement between employers and employees or their representatives. Mutually agreed solutions offer a greater chance of buy-in and sustainability.”
Talking to your staff and asking them what they need is a good start but offering some suggestions as to what you can or are willing to do as a company to support your employees is a better start.
- Offer a flexible working week. Recent reports suggest employees support a four-day week:
Majority of British workers support a four-day week
The five-day working week from Monday to Friday is one of the most important and recognisable features of western working culture. Its days may soon be up; however, as the idea of a four-day working week is gaining traction. According to a survey conducted in 2019, 63 per cent of British adults supported this idea, with only 18 per cent opposing it.
9 to 5 or 8 to 4?
As well as changing the traditional number of working days, workers are also enthusiastic about having more flexible working hours outside of the usual 9 am to 5 pm model. When asked what their ideal working hours would be; 16 per cent of UK said 9 to 5, with 37 per cent opting instead for working 8 to 4.
- Promote Mental Health Days: Perhaps offer one per quarter or bi-annually. Set up workshops, wellbeing activities and opportunities for individuals to access 1-2-1 mentoring, counselling and advice services in the workplace.
- Create Stress-free spaces at work: Establish stress-free workspaces in your offices. No-phone zones, Wi-Fi free areas and fresh fruit and water stops. Embracing a holistic approach to wellbeing in a professional environment. Mind have created a pdf poster to get started creating space to clear your mind and manage your wellbeing:
- Start Talking: Promoting an open-door policy and breaking down barriers to open-up will help suffers from stress know that they aren’t alone. Everyone struggles with stress at some point in their lives. It’s having the ability, resources and support available to prevent it from turning into a more serious mental health issue. The NHS has created a great initiative called ‘Every Mind Matters’ to stop the stigma and support one another:
Mind has also created a superb pdf. To download which helps you support a colleague dealing with stress. It’s an excellent resource providing insight and advice on how you can help.
For a practical approach to helping yourself and others deal with stress and wellbeing join us on a Mental Health First Aid Course. As experts in the field, we offer employers and employees the opportunity to actively make a difference in the workplace and be a mental health hero!
Contact us directly at https://yppp.wpengine.com/category/event/