1 in 4 of us will go through mental health challenges in our lifetime and many people at work are struggling to cope with staying in work and managing their mental health. It is vitally important that we are kind to ourselves, our colleagues, employers and employees.
Kindness was the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week.
By Adebola Ajayi, Service Manager at Healthy Minds Employment Service
1 in 4 of us will go through mental health challenges in our lifetime and many people at work are struggling to cope with staying in work and managing their mental health.
Furthermore, these uncertain times have made the need for mental health awareness even more pronounced as many people are struggling to cope with the unfolding crisis and the changes to their normal way of life.
Thus, it is vitally important that we are kind to ourselves, our colleagues, employers and employees.
Research has shown that:
- 300,000 people with a long term mental health problem lose their jobs each year
- Around 15% of people at work have symptoms of an existing mental health condition
- There is a large annual cost to employers of between £33 billion and £42 billion (with over half of the cost coming from presenteeism – when individuals are less productive due to poor mental health in work) with additional costs from sickness absence and staff turnover
- The cost of poor mental health to Government is between £24 billion and £27 billion. This includes costs in providing benefits, falls in tax revenue and costs to the NHS.
- The cost of poor mental health to the economy as a whole is more than both of those together from lost output, at between £74 billion and £99 billion per year
How kindness in the workplace can effect positive change
Kindness in the workplace creates a ripple effect that affects the workplace culture. We need to be kind to ourselves and equally be kind to other people who share our space or who work with us.
Acts of kindness can flow from the line manager to the team member or between members of the team. It could also flow from the organisation to its clients.
As an organisation, acts of kindness will ensure that we achieve our goals quicker and more easily. It can reduce sickness absence, improve job performance and reduce employee turnover.
When kindness is made a priority in the workplace, it creates a more inclusive workplace culture which promotes a sense of wellbeing and belonging.
How to be kind in the workplace
Some top tips for promoting kindness in the workplace are:
- Give constructive criticism
- Be encouraging
- Show gratitude
- Find out how a co-worker is doing and really listen
- Be a mentor to someone else
- Be timely with meetings
- Be respectful of others and their opinions
Where to get help
If you are an employer struggling with identifying mental health-related issues at work or you are an employee struggling at work due to mental ill-health, the Employment Service of Bucks Healthy Minds can support you.