Students Staff

16 November 2016

New research reveals top tips for businesses to better manage mental health at work

Photo of stressed office worker

Safeguarding mental health in the workplace.

New research reveals top tips for businesses to better manage mental health at work

Managers need the skills to create a positive environment for mental health at work to reduce stress among staff and make businesses more productive, according to a new report from Essex Business School.

The report, commissioned by workplace experts Acas, makes the case that employers should prioritise mental health in the workplace to include careful management of those with mental health conditions, making reasonable adjustments to working practices where appropriate, and educating their whole organisation to challenge stigma.

Leaders and line managers have a crucial role to play in reducing anxiety levels, according to the report, and those trained in ‘people skills’ are best equipped to build trust and respect among their teams and individuals.

This trust can help staff to disclose their mental health conditions so that appropriate support can be provided, according to the report.

It also found that workplaces that create positive environments for mental health are more productive over time as they can reduce employee absences due to stress and anxiety at work.

Speaking about the research, Dr Maria Hudson from Essex Business School said, “Many of us will have mental health needs at some point in our lives. There is both a human case and business case for promoting positive mental health at work. We need to foster constructive workplace change in policy and practice".

Acas Chair Brendan Barber said, “One in six workers in the UK have poor mental health and our new research reveals that bosses can create a positive environment through education and training for staff, especially line managers.

“Businesses that promote a positive mental health environment at work have better staff morale, fewer absences and a low staff turnover. They also reap business benefits such as remaining productive and competitive.

“Acas has also published new guidance today on anxiety, which includes top tips on how to handle mental health issues in the workplace for managers and employees.”

The report includes six key recommendations that employers can adopt to have a more positive effect on employees’ mental health and create a better environment for all. These are developing a positive environment for mental health at work; ensuring that line managers are well trained around mental health; making sure everyone has a role to play in promoting positive mental health at work; using Acas advice on best practice; challenging the stigma and empowering staff to make them feel and work better. 

Read the full report.

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