This week marks World Mental Health Day, Liz Walker discusses how employers can support staff returning to work after issues with their mental health.
- When people are absent from work due to poor mental health there’s a risk they feel they’ve lost a big part of their identity
- Why people who’ve experienced mental health issues are so important to your business (i.e.: diversity of perspectives, resilience, more attuned to distress in others)
- How to communicate this positively to resolve stigma surrounding mental health issues
Help with work-related issues
- Not all managers will benefit from mental health training
- How managers can still assist those who have struggled through practical work-related advice
- (i.e.: challenging incorrect thoughts, clarifying expectations and reallocating workloads)
Invest in early intervention policies
- A growing body of research shows employees who feel valued have lower rates of sickness absence
- Introducing policies to ensure struggling employees are supported too
- (i.e.: expert presentations, EAPs, prioritising emotional intelligence when recruiting)
- Why a phased return is useful helping employees reintegrate into work
- Recommendations for reasonable adaptations to support returning to work (e.g.: adjusted hours, working with a “buddy”, additional breaks etc.)
Look at the bigger picture
- An employee’s issues may signal other business problems like bullying or unrealistic expectations.
- How businesses can use these insights to address any warning signs and take action to reduce stress in other employees
Stay in touch
- Don’t forget about someone who goes off sick. They may feel lost and alone.
- The best ways to keep in touch with employees to ensure they recuperate and recover
By Liz Walker, HR Director, Unum UK