“We were thrilled to conduct our own Onepoll survey of 2,000 British workers, to better understand how employees felt in regards to mental health and how they are supported at work. The results of the survey provided us with some thought-provoking figures, including:
Over half of employees (51%) with mental health issues believed that there is inadequate support for them in the workplace
Those with mental health issues were found to be twice as unhappy in their place of work, on average, than those without. Over a quarter (26%) said they were ‘unhappy’ compared to 13%
16% of people with mental health issues said they have faced discrimination in the workplace, in comparison to 7% of those without
Of the possible solutions to the lack of support and morale, staff with mental health illnesses said that they would benefit from wellness initiatives (45%), clearer policies (35%), and more open discussions (34%) as top priorities, followed by funding for external support (25%), and regular HR consultations (21%)
In addition, flexible working proved to be another area for potential improvement across the employee wellbeing sector. On this subject during the survey, 49% of employees with mental health issues were unable to work from home, however, a huge 82% believed that it would improve their happiness at work, and therefore their productivity.
Emma Mamo, Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind, provided us with some expert insight on our findings. “These worrying findings highlight the need for better support for people with mental health problems at work. We are starting to see many employers take the issue of poor mental health at work more seriously, and it’s certainly in their interest to do so. After all, employers who have in place accessible and well-promoted wellbeing initiatives are more likely to report better staff engagement, morale and productivity, as well as decreased sickness absence.
“Under the Equality Act, every employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments for any employee with a disability, including a mental health problem – which can impact on an individual’s ability to carry out their role. Adjustments need not be large or expensive – things like offering flexible working hours, including changes to hours and location of work, or giving the option to work from home, can all make a huge difference.
“In order to create mentally healthy workplaces, employers need to promote wellbeing for all their staff and take steps to tackle the causes of stress and poor mental health at work, as well as supporting employees experiencing a mental health problem.”
Peter Ames, Head of Strategy at OfficeGenie.co.uk, added: “The findings are shocking, and show attitudes towards mental health still need to change. If employees have felt discriminated against, or feel they are lacking support, we’d advise them to consult Mind as a first step.
“For employers, providing mental health support offers the opportunity to make potentially-vulnerable staff feel supported and welcome, and for the employers themselves to excel. There is no reason why every workplace shouldn’t have clear and defined policies on such matters, and strong plans for support. The fact that many don’t, even in 2016, needs to be addressed.”