12 top tips that will help employers manage mental health in the workplace
An ever increasing number of employees are affected by mental health conditions. According to Stevenson’s independent review into workplace mental health in 2017 15% of workers display symptoms of a mental health condition.
The affected employees are often less productive than their colleagues and their employers are also forced to bear the costs – an estimated £42bn every year – of covering extended sick leave and recruiting and training replacement staff.
As April is Stress Awareness Month, here are 12 top tips that will help you as an employer deal with mental health in the workplace:
1. Understand the meaning of ‘disability’ as defined by the Equality Act 2010.
2. Make sure you have an Equal Opportunities Policy in the workplace and that your staff not only know where to find it but are also trained to put it into practice.
3. Ensure that you your sickness policies and absent reporting rules are up to date (and reviewed frequently) and your staff know about and understand them.
4. Monitor all sickness absences carefully and do not ignore any signs that an employee might be struggling with their mental health (for example complaints about stress related to their workload or issues at home).
5. Encourage confidential conversations with staff if you feel there may be a mental health issue (if in doubt just ask them how they are).
6. Equip your managers with mental health know-how and training so they can spot the signs and know what to do if/when they do.
7. Avoid asking pre-employment health questions.
8. Obtain a medical report (with the employee’s consent) if an employee is off work for more than 4 weeks or intermittently absent with mental ill health.
9. Consider reasonable adjustments (e.g. a phased return to work after absence, shorter hours or reduced days) for those employees who are suffering with their mental health.
10. Conduct effective return to work interviews.
11. Be familiar with the 6 Mental Health Core Standards from “Thriving at Work”.
12. Remember that compensation is uncapped for disability discrimination claims so ALWAYS tread carefully.
If you would like to discuss how to design and implement an Equal Opportunities policy or update and improve your business’ approach to your employees’ mental health, please call Charlotte Ollerenshaw on 0114 290 6286 or email Charlotte at firstname.lastname@example.org.