Editor’s Note: Workforce Health in the New Year

By Simon Kent

A recent survey found that as many as 89 per cent of UK employees suffered from workplace stress sufficient enough to affect their mental health. DolanContractor Group, the firm that carried out the research, also discovered that long working hours were chief among the causes of stress alongside deadlines, client demands, and the inability to build financial savings.

These figures demonstrate the importance of considering mental health within the workplace. They also show how stress among workers results from issues that arise in both the workplace and life in general. With Brexit, immigration changes, whispers of recession, and continuing pressures being brought to bear on employees through the advancement of technology, these drivers are likely to grow and become more complex.

Managing an international workforce brings another dimension to the wellness equation. Sarah Dennis, head of international at Towergate Health & Protection, has drawn attention to the way the ebb and flow of economic fortunes across a region can impact employees. “The popularity of where to build business is a constantly moving feast, and companies need staff that are not only well briefed, but also well supported to capitalise on the opportunities to be had,” she says.

Good mental health in the workplace isn’t just about providing initiatives to help people cope or to compensate for their feelings. It’s about creating the right culture. It is no coincidence, therefore, that one of the most important aspects of growing a business is creating and maintaining a great culture.

Agility may be important from a business point of view, but the reason why workers put in extra effort for their employer and the reason why the stress may be worth it is because they feel appreciated, supported, and successful. As a business grows, it’s important not to lose that ability to connect with staff -or HR leaders may find that expansion has turned their supportive business into just another employer.

The crucial point to remember is that in this stressful and pressured world of work, it is the people who will see the organisation through to success. They are the key to a great business, service, and product. Look after them to grow and succeed; treat them like any other resource and they’ll leave, taking the company with it.

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