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The importance of looking after your employee’s mental health

Monday 14 October 2019

This year’s World Mental Health Day put mental wellbeing firmly under the spotlight. Richard Gould, Director of Commercial at Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing, considers the proactive steps we can all take to look after our mental health.

Howden (formerly known as Punter Southall Health & Protection) researched workplace wellbeing in their ‘Employee Wellbeing Research 2018: How employers, CEOs and Government are driving new agendas’ report where they highlighted that mental wellbeing was the number one concern for UK employers. 60 per cent of UK chief executives said that mental health is the area of employee wellbeing they are most concerned about. Leaders also said they recognise that high-pressured working environments are putting their employees’ physical and mental health at risk.

Mental health in the property sector

According to figures by the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD), property professionals experience amongst the highest levels of stress within the UK; This is not only due to economic challenges, but is also down to a culture of long hours and social pressures; and Against this backdrop, CIPD estimates that 54 per cent of property professionals are on the road to a career “burn out”.

Many employers are concerned about the rising cost of workplace mental illness. The Government’s ‘Thriving at Work report’ into mental health estimated the cost of poor mental health to UK business stands at between £33 billion and £42 billion a year. Its report also found that 300,000 people with a long-term mental health problem lose their jobs each year. However, despite these stark figures, relatively few leaders are proactively supporting mental wellbeing. We found that only 16 per cent of employers have a defined mental health strategy in place, with a further 37 per cent planning to introduce one in the next 12 months.

Ten years ago, nobody talked about workplace mental health, but it’s a major issue for employers today. Figures from mental health charity Mind tell us that one in four of us will experience a mental health problem every year; mental illness is hugely costly for employers and nobody wants staff with long term absences. The evidence is out there, but business leaders need to take action and consider what steps they need to take within their own workplace to support employees’ mental health.

Addressing mental health issues in their early stages is the best way of preventing these from escalating and we recommend that all businesses should have a long-term wellbeing strategy in place, which includes mental health, for recognising the signs and providing services to help.

Glow for Myton

Property Professional

This article was featured in our Property Professional magazine. Propertymark members receive an exclusive, high-quality magazine packed full of up-to-date information and guidance as well as hearing from leading experts and professionals across the sector. Members can download a digital copy by logging into the online shop below.

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Mental Health image created by Total Shape: totalshape.com