Bosses should talk to staff and offer free YOGA classes to protect their mental health, guidelines suggest
- Health leaders want companies to train managers to spot signs of stress in employees
- Public Health England and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence say action is needed to reduce stigma of mental health at work
- Their draft document includes suggestions, including offering flexible working hours
- A 2020 Deloitte study estimated that poor mental health among staff costs UK businesses up to £45 billion a year
Bosses should engage staff in a chat and offer them free yoga or meditation classes to protect their mental health at work, official guidelines suggest.
Health leaders want companies of all sizes and in all industries to train managers so they can spot signs of stress and help affected employees.
This may involve being offered flexible hours or less challenging tasks, suggest Public Health England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
Their draft paper, which is yet to be consulted, states that action must be taken to reduce the stigma of mental health.
It makes a number of recommendations designed to help companies ‘create the right conditions’ to support mental wellbeing in the workplace.
For example, encouraging managers to ‘maintain good relationships’ with employees, ‘for example by socializing with them or making small talk’.
Bosses should engage staff in chat and offer them free yoga or meditation classes to protect their mental health at work, official guidelines suggest [Stock image]
Another says all employees should be offered mindfulness, yoga or meditation, which can be taught in a group or online. And a third recommendation calls for “mental health training” for all line managers so that they can identify signals from their staff and discuss their concerns sensitively.
The guideline committee was made up of mental health experts, employers, professionals from the NHS and local authorities, and lay people.
Their report states: ‘The committee recognized the importance of a good relationship between managers and employees, and of employees who can go to managers to discuss any concerns.’
The report comes after a 2020 study by Deloitte estimated that poor mental health among staff costs UK businesses up to £45 billion a year.
dr. Paul Chrisp, director of NICE’s Guidance Center, said: ‘Giving managers skills to discuss mental well-being improves the manager-employee relationship so they can identify and reduce work stressors.’
The report comes after a 2020 study by Deloitte which estimated that poor mental health among staff costs UK businesses up to £45 billion a year. [Stock image]
Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellness at the charity Mind, said some people’s mental health deteriorated during the pandemic, with layoffs, leave and juggling work and childcare, all factors.
She added: ‘Investing in the well-being of the workforce has never been more important and benefits the entire workforce.
“Training alone is not enough to protect and promote staff well-being, it must be part of a broader, comprehensive staff support package.
“Many employers, especially smaller ones, feel they don’t have the resources to invest in staff well-being, but interventions don’t have to be large or expensive.
“Most importantly, we want all employers to proactively create a culture where employees of all levels can talk about their mental health and know that if they do, they will receive support and understanding, rather than experiencing stigma and discrimination.”
The Confederation of British Industry said: ‘Supporting the wellbeing and mental health of staff has been on the agenda of many companies for quite some time and the global pandemic has accelerated this journey.
“Of course, companies can always do more, but equipping managers with the knowledge and skills needed to support their teams can only be beneficial in the long run.”