Nearly three-quarters of UK companies use leadership training programmes to improve employee mental health

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“Organisations are increasingly offering a variety of tools and programmes to promote mental well-being in the workplace, as they see the hugely positive results of having a mentally healthy workforce” – Chris Evans, Buck Consultants

Nearly three in four UK businesses (72 percent) are using individual leadership training courses to support their employees mental health, according to a new Buck Consultants at Xerox survey report released today entitled ‘Promoting Mental Well-being: Addressing Worker Stress and Psychosocial Risks.’

Buck’s first global mental well-being survey analysed responses from more than 400 organisations in 31 countries. On health promotion and workplace wellness strategies, it found that the other most popular activities companies are providing are employee assistance programmes (70 percent), time management training (57 percent), and work/life balance support (56 percent).

To specifically tackle workplace stress, 95 percent of employers have put in place discrimination policies, and workplace safety training, with a further 92 percent setting us bullying policies.

As a result, nearly a third of UK companies (29 percent) who track indicators of wellbeing at work believe they have seen an improvement in the mental health of their staff, and a reduction in the incidences of burnout and workplace stress in the past five years.

“Stress is major factor in companies adopting wellness programmes,” said Chris Evans, senior consultant, Buck Consultants at Xerox. ‘UK employers are becoming more aware of the importance of mental health and the impact of stress levels, taking a more holistic view of their employees’ well-being, which in turn can positively impact the bottom line. As we’ve seen with the NHS recently announcing their physical wellbeing programme, forward-thinking employers are not only taking responsibility to monitor for issues but are providing the tools to support the people within their business.”

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Figures from the global survey show that yoga, meditation, relaxation and mindfulness programmes are one of the top three fastest growing programmes promoting mental wellbeing in organisations

Case Study: EE

Buck Consultants at Xerox’s client EE has invested heavily in mental health in terms of time, resource and benefit provision, putting strategies in place to make significant improvements in order to improve the wellbeing of its staff, their performance and the overall business.

Louise Harry, health and wellbeing co-ordinator at EE said, “Employee wellbeing is business critical and through a targeted approach promoting education, intervention and resilience, we have put measures in place to actively identify and support staff affected by stress and other mental health issues in the workplace.

“Strategies have included a combination of initiatives including better coordination and communication of company-wide provisions. We have developed a mental health referral pathway to support employees without delay, onsite wellbeing champions, mental health awareness training and resilience seminars. In one particular site, we have seen equivalent to an overall yearly saving of £538,236 for sickness absence and OH break time reduced to less than 20 hours per week, equivalent to an overall saving of £850,000 for the business.”

Figures from the global survey show that the top three fastest growing programmes promoting mental well-being are stress awareness campaigns; yoga, meditation, relaxation and mindfulness programmes; and online healthy lifestyle programmes for employees.

Evans adds, “We’re also starting to see more strategies to help improve the working environment, such as health discussion groups, workplace redesigns and team building exercises, to bring positivity to the business and give employees the support they need to reduce their stress”.

“Organisations are increasingly offering a variety of tools and programmes to promote mental well-being in the workplace, as they see the hugely positive results of having a mentally healthy workforce” said Evans.

Other key findings of Buck’s global mental well-being survey include:

  • More than half (51 percent) of the companies surveyed rate their organisation as very or extremely supportive of the mental well-being of their employees. Over two- thirds (67 percent) believe that this support comes from the culture they have within their business.
  • More than half of companies (57 percent) track mental health through employee engagement surveys of employers offer flexible work schedules, and more than half offer telecommuting to mitigate work-related stress.
  • The policies that are most frequently being introduced in the UK are introduction of sabbatical programmes, establishing email policies (e.g. limited after work hours use) and flexible working including telecommuting (working from home)

Buck Consultants at Xerox conducted the survey in association with the Global Centre for Healthy Workplaces.

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