UK Businesses Struggle with Employee Well-being Despite High Costs

UK businesses are urged to prioritize employee well-being strategies as poor mental health costs the economy at least £56 billion annually. Despite this, less than half of UK businesses have comprehensive support strategies in place, leading to increased stress and absenteeism.

Aqsa Younas Rana
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UK Businesses Struggle with Employee Well-being Despite High Costs

UK Businesses Struggle with Employee Well-being Despite High Costs

During Mental Health Awareness Week, experts are urging UK business leaders to prioritize employee well-being strategies, as the cost of poor mental health is estimated to be at least £56 billion annually, equivalent to 5% of GDP. Despite this significant financial burden, less than half of UK businesses have comprehensive support, mental, health strategies in place.

Why this matters: The mental health of employees has a direct impact on a company's productivity and bottom line, making it a critical issue for businesses to address. Moreover, prioritizing employee well-being can have a ripple effect, influencing the overall health and well-being of families and communities.

The impact of poor mental health on UK businesses is staggering. From mid-2018 to mid-2019, 602,000 UK employees reported work-related stress, depression, or anxiety. This number increased to 914,000 in 2021-22, a 52% rise. Furthermore, 25% of UK employees indicate that the cost of living crisis has made them more stressed about their jobs, with 18% saying that work is impacting their personal and home life more than it did two years ago.

Overworking is a significant contributor to poor mental health among UK employees. 51% of employees work beyond their contracted hours every day, with 17% working at least two hours overtime daily. This excessive workload takes a toll on employees' well-being, with 57% of UK organizations citing mental ill health as one of the most common reasons for long-term employee absences.

To address this issue, experts advise business leaders to measure the impact of mental health on their organization, avoid overloading employees, strengthen social connections within the workplace, and role-model positive behaviors. David Rice, HR expert at People Managing People, emphasizes the importance of these principles, stating, "Senior people in your organisation speak openly about their personal challenges... can go a long way to building a more mentally healthy workplace." Responsible employment practices

Implementing a comprehensive well-being strategy can demonstrate responsible employment practices, attract and retain talent, reduce stress in the workplace, and empower staff to proactively manage their well-being. Employers should listen to their employees' needs, extend benefits to immediate family members, and offer support that addresses physical, financial, and mental health.

Effective communication is crucial in ensuring the success of well-being strategies. Employers should clearly communicate their well-being strategy and benefits offering to staff and be open to feedback to ensure a flexible and evolving approach to well-being. By prioritizing employee well-being and implementing comprehensive strategies, UK businesses can mitigate the significant cost of poor mental health and create a supportive and engaging work environment for their employees.

Key Takeaways

  • Poor mental health costs UK businesses at least £56 billion annually.
  • Less than half of UK businesses have comprehensive mental health strategies.
  • Overworking and lack of social connections contribute to poor mental health.
  • Business leaders should prioritize employee well-being to reduce stress and improve productivity.
  • Effective communication is crucial for successful well-being strategies.