Happy brains can lift spirits; even their own!

What is wellbeing?

Wellbeing encompasses many aspects of the way individuals feel about their everyday lives, from their health to their relationships with others to their jobs.
Mental wellbeing refers specifically to the mental state of an individual, how they feel and how well they are able to cope with everyday life.

Why does mental health and wellbeing in the workplace matter?

Prevention and intervention are key ways employers can help reduce sickness absence in the workplace, and employers can easily do this by putting the health of their employees first.

  1. Adults spend around one third of their life at work, so their work environment plays a vital role in health and wellbeing
  2. A good benefit package which includes a mental health provision helps attract and retain talent
  3. A healthy workforce is a productive workforce
  4. Valuing employees’ health and wellbeing gives a positive impression of the organisation
  5. Preventing illness and helping manage health problems in a positive way reduces costs and strain on all parts of the business

Preventable illnesses and poorly managed health conditions are costly for employers and employees. From hiring temporary staff to cover absenteeism, to statutory sick pay, to paying overtime to cover the absence, the costs soon mount up.

Knowledge is power

If you know about the health problems your employees face you’ll be better equipped to make reasonable adjustments and plan ahead. Ready to implement a change in your workplace culture? If so, consider the following:

1. Why do I want to increase my organisations’ focus on employee mental health and wellbeing?

Reasons for this vary, but are likely to include:

  • Wanting your organisation to be a great and inclusive place to work
  • Increasing employee engagement
  • Retaining your talent (the average cost of replacing a staff member is £30k+)
  • Attracting new talent with a competitive package of health benefits
  • Lowering absence figures and associated costs

2. What health and wellbeing issues affect my employees?

One means of answering this question is to use your existing data to identify patterns and trends which affect individual or organisational performance, focusing on:

  • The number of reported absences for mental health and wellbeing reasons
  • The cost impact of these absences

It’s important to remember that although employers have seen a 41% increase in reported instances this figure is likely to be far higher due to the stigma still surrounding mental health issues.

If you don’t have cost impact data readily available (only 33% of employers actually monitor the cost of absence in their organisations), it’s useful to know that the average absence cost ranges from £450-£835 per employee per year, with the median value at £522.  In a workforce of 50 employees, that’s over £25,000 per year.

3. What do my employees want, and need, to help improve their health and wellbeing?

If you’re concerned your employees may not have given genuine answers when talking with you face-to-face, try using an anonymised Employee Satisfaction Survey.  Ask questions like:

  • Do you feel your health and wellbeing are a priority for management?
  • How valued do you feel at work?
  • How stressed do you feel at work?
  • Are you satisfied with current benefits and compensation offered?
  • How would you describe the level of support offered by your manager?
  • Do you feel you have opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • Would you feel comfortable discussing mental health and wellbeing issues with your manager?
  • Do you feel the organisation invests enough in your health and wellbeing?

4.  How will implementing a new Health and Wellbeing initiative benefit my organisation as a whole?

Once you’ve managed to implement a successful healthy initiative in your organisation, you’re likely to enjoy major business benefits including:

  • Increased productivity
  • Improved quality of work
  • Improved levels of morale, engagement, attitudes and behaviours
  • Increased loyalty and advocacy to the organisation
  • Increased retention rates
  • Reduced sickness absence
  • Reduced recruitment and associated costs
  • Reduced temporary cover costs

5. How a simple health screening programme can help

We recognise that wellbeing is not solely physical so Bluecrest include mental health provisions within all of our corporate health assessments which offer a 3-part assessment for your employees. This covers clinical readings relating to Anxiety and Depression – plus an additional assessment of employee Engagement.  Our approach offers you four key benefits:

  • Because it’s confidential to the employee, they can feel completely open to giving an honest assessment of how they feel. Within their results, employees will find appropriate content based on their results.
  • If we screen over 70 individuals (any less than 70 risks losing employee anonymity), your business will be given an overall Mental Wellbeing score to show how well it handles mental health concerns.
  • In addition, we can also provide other key business intelligence relating to the health and wellbeing of your workforce within your Management Information report. This can also drive interventions in relation to dietary habits, alcohol awareness, smoking cessation and heart disease risks. Your report can be broken down by business location, division and department to allow company interventions to be put in place addressing areas of concern.
  • Individuals can also benefit from access to a CBT practitioner (BABCP registered) via telephone or webcam.  Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help manage individuals’ problems by changing the way they think and behave. In addition to stress and anxiety, it can help people with conditions such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic, post-traumatic stress (PTSD), phobias, eating disorders, sleep problems, alcoholism and a wide range of health concerns.
  • What is the Bluecrest service for CBT? Any staff member who scores “Red” in any of their mental health assessments will be offered a convenient 1-hour CBT session over the phone or via webcam with an experienced CBT therapist (BABCP accredited).  An action plan will be prepared and, if they have private medical insurance (PMI), they may be offered private options for any treatment that may be required – whereas, if they do not have PMI, they will be directed towards free options for self-help and other support available via the NHS and organisations specialising in mental health.

6. Next steps – make your initiative a reality

Put together a plan of action, outlining:

  • Details of the initiative you’re implementing
  • The key tasks to be completed
  • Who will be responsible for each task
  • Who will be involved in each task (don’t forget external stakeholders)
  • The facilities you’ll require to implement your initiative
  • The cost implications (don’t just document the spend – document the calculated amount you’ll save too)
  • The proposed timeline for implementation