We are in the middle of Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 (13th  – 19th May) and what better time could there be for reviewing your organisation’s working environment in terms of the impact it has on employees mental health and wellbeing.

But why should organisations be looking to promote positive mental health at work?


Some facts and stats on mental health related sickness absence

Did you know that 37% of work-related ill health cases are caused by stress related illnesses?

In 2017 over half a million employees reported experiencing stress, either as a direct result of, or exacerbated by their job.  In the same year 12.5 million working days were lost to businesses due to mental ill health.

While the overall rate of sickness absence has fallen by 15-20% since 2009, absence due to mental ill health has risen by around 5%.  In addition to this, whilst the percentage of days off due to all types of illness is lower than a decade ago, presenteeism is increasing year on year. 

Presenteeism is the term used to refer to those people are turning up for work but are unable to be productive, creative or innovative due to poor mental health. 

Shocking stats I’m sure you’d agree but what does this actually mean for businesses?

What are the risks to your organisation?

The risks and effects of poor employee mental health within organisations is becoming increasingly well documented.  These risks include:


The costs associated with having employees on frequent or long term sick leave and as well as the extra expense of filling long term gaps.


This is a common occurrence in organisation that prioritise operational demands over their employees wellbeing.

Workforce Strain

With employees on long term sick leave the knock-on effect on other members of the team can be increased workload and hours, putting their mental wellbeing at risk, perhaps resulting in additional sickness absence.

Employee Turnover  

If a person feels unable to cope, or unable to continue at the organisation due to mental ill-health, there are costs associated with recruitment and training of new employees.

Limited Growth

A culture of concealment and presenteeism may potentially lead to a loss of diversity and skills throughout organisations, so limiting growth.

Legal Risk 

Where organisations fail to have and follow policies and processes that enable them to comply with both health and safety and disability law, employees may consider resigning and claiming unfair dismissal if they can demonstrate a breach.  This impacts productivity and financial stability.

What are the benefits of improving mental health in the workplace?

 The list of risks to an organisation from not supporting employees mental health is a long one, however, the good news is that there are considerable benefits to organisations that promote a culture of wellbeing in the workplace.

These benefits include:


  • Reduced likelihood of legal claims
  • Fewer days lost to absenteeism
  • Lower staff turnover
  • Reduced recruitment and training costs
  • Improved employee morale
  • Reduced conflict and other people issues
  • Positive PR and better company reputation, resulting in increased desirability for talented people
  • Decreased presenteeism and improved creativity, innovation and productivity
  • Higher customer acquisition and retention
  • Increased profits

What can your organisation do to promote positive mental health at work?

There are plenty of simple, and cost effective, steps that employers can take to improve the culture of positive mental wellbeing within their organisation. 

The first step is to assess the current situation by looking at your working environment in six key areas.

 The six areas of ‘work design’:


The extent to which people can cope with the extent of the demands of their work.


The level of say people have in the way they do their work.


The information, encouragement and resources provided to enable people to do their work.


The extent to which people are free from unacceptable behaviour/conflict in the workplace.


The level to which people understand their role and don’t feel they have conflicting roles.


How change is both managed and communicated.

Take our Mental Health At Work Quiz

To support organisations with this process we have developed a short quiz to walk employers through these six areas of ‘work design’ highlighting the primary sources of stress at work. 

The quiz can be circulated to employees across your organisation to highlight areas of good practice as well as areas for improvement.

Is your organisation doing enough to promote positive mental health at work?

Take our QUIZ and find out!

If you would like to discuss the findings of the quiz with one of our team and find out about possible next steps, please get in touch

To Promote Positive Mental Health At Work?

Find out by taking our quick Mental Health At Work Quiz

This short quiz will take you through the six areas of ‘work design’ that highlight the primary sources of stress at work that, when not managed well, are associated with poor mental health and can lead to increased absenteeism and presenteeism, resulting in reduced creativity, productivity and results.

Take The
Mental Health
At Work Quiz

If you’d like to discuss how we can support your organisation and your people,