Start 2020 with a vision for wellness at work
In this two-part blog on the importance of wellness at work, Melissa Smith crunches the numbers and shares a vision for the New Year.
Part 1: Wellness at work: where we’re at
How healthy are your colleagues?
Obviously, you’ll have records that show the amount of sick leave taken. You’ll know who the Trojans – the hardy types that butch it out when they’re unwell and make it in no matter what (even when they shouldn’t) – are.
And then there are those who are working while off sick, thinking they’re minimising the backlog they’ll be returning to when they get back to work.
All well intentioned, but it could be storing up trouble. Findings from the CIPD Health and Wellbeing at Work Survey 2019 tell us that:
- employee absence is at an all-time low of 5.9 days per employee per year
- 63% of employers say their staff work during their annual leave and / or when on sick leave
On the face of it then, great news for employers who would seem to be getting more bangs per payroll buck than ever before.
The CIPD survey goes on to show that:
- 37% of employees say that stress-related sick leave is on the increase
- at 59%, mental ill health is the top single cause of long-term absence
- in joint second place is stress at 54% along with musculoskeletal injuries – acute medical conditions come in at 45% and injuries/accidents account for just 19% of absences
So are we storing up mental illness problems – and are we equipped to deal with it?
The stats suggest that a) yes we probably are, and b) some great work has been done to tackle mental illness at work but more needs to be done. For instance, another look at the CIPD survey findings reveals that:
- 50% of employers say that their managers are trained to manage stress, and that they understand its significance
- 40% of organisations have trained managers to support staff who have a mental illness
- 30% claim their managers are confident about discussing mental health with colleagues and directing them towards expert help. However,
- only 18% of those taking part in the survey felt their managers were able to spot the early warning signs of mental ill health
Mental health, then, is clearly on the radar, but some organisations are well ahead of others when it comes to spotting it and dealing with it. So, in part 2 of this blog, we’ll look at some of the strategies that any business – no matter how large, small or complex – can put in place to deal with the top two causes of long term absence.