Why Mental Health Awareness Week should matter to your company
Mental Health Awareness Week only started two decades ago in 2001. Luckily, since then mental health in the workplace has grown in importance. However, there is still so much real change needed in workplaces to provide better mental health support for employees. Many companies now have mental health policies and guidelines, but in reality, aren’t supporting their employees. Mental Health Awareness Week should be a significant date in the calendar for startups.
A growing number of employees are moving on when a company doesn’t support their mental health. The cost of hiring a new employee starts from £6,125. Companies can’t afford to not prioritise the mental health of their workers.
The pandemic served as a turning point for many employees. The welcoming of a better work/life balance due to home working and more flexible options wasn’t something workers wanted to give up with employees demanding that companies prioritise their mental health. Some companies have reverted to inflexible working environments leaving employees resigning in their masses. With the pandemic showing a different type of work environment was possible, companies have no excuse to not implement policies to support the improved mental health of employees.
Spotting a need for change
Like many others, the pandemic was my turning point. The PR industry is already a stressful world with 91% of PR professionals experiencing poor mental health in the past year. However, the pandemic intensified this with many of my colleagues being placed on furlough. I saw a space for a PR agency that prioritised happiness for both employees and clients.
Now in its third year, Lem-uhn is an alternative type of PR agency which prioritises positive well-being for employees and clients alike. Unlike most PR agencies, all staff work their set hours only and employees benefit from a range of health and well-being initiatives. These include two Wellness Days and ten days of paid leave per year for menstruation, menopause discomfort or in the event of a miscarriage and flexible working hours and locations.
Our recent research found that the number of Brits searching for the keyword ‘stress’ rose by over a third (34%) in February 2023 compared to the same month ten years earlier. With the pressures of everyday life at an all-time high with rising energy bills, inflation, the pandemic and the effects of climate change the workplace should be a place to support mental wellbeing rather than harm it.
The average person spends 1,893 hours at work a year. This suggests having a job that contributes to an individual’s happiness and mental wellness can lead to a happier life.
Our analysis also found that the average levels of anxiety are rising amongst Brits. According to the Office for National Statistics, the latest average level of anxiety was recorded at 4.0 in March. This is an increase in the score registered in the previous period which was 3.9.
Workers want change
One thing that is clear is that workers want change. Our analysis found that people are working 94 hours less than in 1993. Gone are the days when workers would let their mental health suffer for a job - employees rightfully want an employer who cares about their mental well-being.
Poor employee mental health is bad for business
Not prioritising your employee’s well-being also leaves you vulnerable to PR issues. Disgruntled employees can speak to the press and shine a light on the treatment they received at your company. This can lead to a long-term drop in brand trust, customers and sales. People buy into customers. Now more than ever consumers choose to shop with brands they resonate with and agree with their values. You can’t afford to have a disgruntled worker cause a PR scandal.
See more on our research into stress in the workplace here.