Supporting your employees' mental health and reducing absence rates

Supporting your employeesPublished: 8 May 2015

An employee feeling stressed or anxious within the work place is more common than you might think, with just over two-fifths of organisations noticing an increase in reported mental ill health.1

So what can you do to support your employees' mental health and try to reduce absence rates?

Work-life balance

A key point to consider is that of work-life balance. The number of hours worked among the general population is on the increase, which in turn is having an adverse effect on people's lifestyles. If employees work longer and longer hours they may begin to neglect other aspects of their life or constantly worry about work issues outside of working hours.

To help your employees maintain a healthy work-life balance try to encourage a culture that allows them to feel comfortable enough to speak up if their workload or time constraints are too much.

You could also introduce a policy that actively promotes the link between work related stress and mental health. It should describe the responsibilities of employees at all levels in promoting mental health awareness, and have clear, visible support channels for those who experience mental ill health.

Flexible working benefits

Offering your employees flexible working benefits, such as flexible working hours, can help them to negotiate their balance between work and other commitments. Flexibility can give an employee with worries outside of work the room to deal with their issues without the added pressure of having time constraints, helping to encourage good mental health.

Working smart, not long

Another way to try and reduce stress or anxiety is to promote a culture of working smart, not long; meaning employees should learn to limit themselves to spend a certain amount of time per task. This can relieve the pressures that employees can sometimes put on themselves.

 Activities that are good for mental health

Encourage activities that promote good mental health, such as lunchtime exercise or creative ways to calm the mind. By doing so employees will be able to get the most out of their breaks and be mindful without thinking about work.

 Getting employees to use your support network

Counselling and Employee Assistance Programmes are great for helping employees talk about any negative feelings or worries they may be experiencing. However, getting them to use these tools can often be a challenge.

Ensuring you have a visible and supportive policy on mental health will encourage your employees to seek help sooner. By providing them with information on how to access the supportive measures you have in place, you can help them to speak about any stress, anxiety or depression they are feeling.

Mental Health Awareness Week helps to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing issues to educate the wider public and break the stigma. Simplyhealth is supporting this awareness drive throughout May. Learn more about Mental Health Awareness Week.


1. CIPD Absence Management Annual Survey Report 2014 

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