13.7m working days a year lost through stress
NICE say that organisations could save around £250,000 per 1,000 employees in reduced absenteeism and increased performance if they follow its guidance.
Guidance has been issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), to combat the estimated 13.7m working days a year which are lost due to work-related mental health conditions.
According to NICE, time off due to work-related mental health conditions including stress, anxiety and depression costs UK employers around £28.3 billion a year at current pay levels.
The organisation said that work plays a pivotal role in promoting mental wellbeing, but when the pressure of work exceeds an employee’s ability to cope, stress can ensue and result in time off.
In order to ease the burden on both the employer and employee, NICE has made a number of recommendations for employers in order to achieve a balanced organisation. These include: creating awareness and understanding of mental wellbeing to reduce the potential for discrimination; promote a culture of participation, equality and fairness; provide flexible working where feasible.
Professor Mike Kelly, Public Health Excellence Centre Director, commented: “The benefits of promoting mental wellbeing within the workplace are clear.
“This guidance explains how employers can make simple changes which will improve the management of mental health in the workplace, including the prevention and early identification of problems.”
Professor Kelly said that the financial incentives can be significant. An average organisation with 1,000 employees could save around £250,000 a year.
Dr Richard Preece, Consultant in Occupational Medicine at Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “All managers know that happy workers are productive workers. The evidence confirms that promoting well-being is win-win, helping both workers and the bottom line.”
The NHS said it plans to launch the Open Your Mind campaign later this year in order to tackle the issue. Sian Thomas, Director of NHS Employers, said she hopes the campaign will help reduce mental health stigma and help employers create a better working environment for staff with mental health problems.