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The Importance of Mental Health at Work

April 22, 2022

Research from the Chartered Accountants Benevolent Association finds that 41% of CPA’s regularly feel overworked and stressed. Learn to understand the importance of promoting good mental health at your firm, and set up the support your staff need.

A focus on mental health awareness could benefit your business and your workers. It can allow you to become an industry leader, and cement your firm as a desirable place to work.

Why Mental Health is Important in the Workplace

It's likely that you already acknowledge the importance of your workers' health. Still, there are also benefits for the business.

Improve Productivity

A report from Champion Health finds that 67% of UK workers experience stress, and it affects the productivity of 28%. Problems at home or in the work environment can cause additional stresses on top of responsibilities, so it's beneficial to help resolve issues to increase focus. 

Additionally, if you help your workers, you build up trust and a mutual level of respect. When your staff feels as though they can come to you, they'll welcome you to put your faith in them professionally.

Supporting mental health means that you listen to what your workers have to say, and encourage them to feel valued. If staff see that they are a part of a team, they're more likely to engage in their work because they feel like it matters.

Save Money

An analysis by Deloitte finds that for every £1 an employer spends on mental health assistance, they save £5 from reduced absenteeism and reduced staff turnover.

You may find that when your staff experience mental health problems, it can become emotionally and physically debilitating for them. That could mean that they are unable to perform their duties at work, and require time off.

The Office for National Statistics finds that 12.7% of worker absences in the UK are due to mental health problems.

You don't want lots of workers on sick leave because it can affect your operation within the firm. Clients may get nervous if you need to regularly pass them over to different accountants. 

Meanwhile, employees are more likely to leave and find a firm that supports their wellbeing more if they feel as though you don't assist them. High staff turnover means that you have the additional costs of recruitment and training.

Create a Diverse Workforce

Without the support in place to help with mental health at work, you could find that you exclude potential talented workers. People with long-term mental health problems can still bring experience and skills to your firm, but only if you offer them the relevant assistance.

By creating a welcoming and accepting environment, you will benefit from the best candidates regardless of their background. A larger pool to choose from will help you hire the right people who can perform for your firm.

How to create an environment conducive to good mental health

To build an environment within your firm that can improve your staff's mental health at work, you must put an assistance plan into practice.

1. Reduce Stigma

A significant barrier for your staff to come forward and share their mental health problems could be embarrassment or the stigma that they think is attached. It’s important to strive to eliminate any negative attitudes toward the subject.

One good way to reduce the stigma is to encourage an open discussion about mental health in your firm. You can set up one-on-one sessions to check in with workers once a month, giving them an opportunity to reflect on how they feel.

If your staff share their experiences, you should take their issues seriously. Perhaps you can offer them a mental health day if needed. You want your workers to understand the benefit of being open, so don’t dismiss anything.

2. Promote Awareness

It's helpful to routinely promote awareness of everyday issues so workers understand how to view each other's mental health. One in six adults in the UK have a common mental illness like depression or anxiety. Still, you could also educate staff on bipolar or obsessive-compulsive disorders.

A great way to teach your staff about mental health is through designated training days or workshops. You can put together your own or hire external groups to come in to assist you. Mind is a UK mental health charity that offers excellent resources you can use.

The training could also show your staff how to respond if their colleagues come to them with mental health problems. Ideally, you want to create an environment where everyone can feel comfortable speaking to anyone — not just senior management.

3. Encourage a Work-life Balance

In a demanding industry like accounting, it's crucial to promote a good work-life balance among your workers. If they can leave their work at their front door to enjoy their time with family and friends, they're more likely to have a better life overall. According to a study from Oxford University, happy workers are 13% more productive.

You can encourage a good work-life balance by offering additional holidays or trailing a four-day workweek. In addition, you can hold events where staff can get together and enjoy each other's company outside of work. There may be some workers who don't have friends or family to see on weekends, so offer staff regular social activities to participate in.

No Health Without Mental Health

If you want to learn more about mental health in the workplace, register to attend our mid-term meeting in May, where Dr Olivia Remes will give an insightful presentation on the topic called “No health without mental health: Leadership for a thriving workplace”.

Dr Remes will discuss the day-to-day struggles of workers with mental health problems and the strain it could have on your business. The insights will help you understand how to champion good mental well-being in your workplace and make leadership decisions in an informed way.

Register for the event here.

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