Good health and wellbeing can be a core enabler of employee engagement and organisation performance. According to Benenden Health Survey, over a third of employees say that they’ve had a health issue they haven’t told their manager/employer about.
Health is a personal topic and therefore it is important that line managers are well equipped to have meaningful conversations with their employees about their health and wellbeing. Mental Health UK provide practical advice/suggested approach for having these sensitive conversations with employees: https://mentalhealth-uk.org/help-and-information/talking-about-mental-health-at-work/.
It’s not the managers role to be a health expert or provide treatment to employees, however managers do have a duty of care to all employees. To exercise this duty, managers should have regular check-ins with all employees to identify any health/wellbeing concerns, provide appropriate support and sign employees to external services/support, when needed. Managers can signpost employees to services that may be of benefit to the employees such as GP advice, Occupational Health, online mental health support via Mind/Samaritans, and Employee Assistance Programme/other Company wellbeing initiatives.
There are also free online resources that managers may find useful when exploring employee wellbeing:
Mind’s Wellness Action Plan – tool which helps employees manage their mental health and wellbeing at work. https://www.mind.org.uk/media-a/5761/mind-guide-for-line-managers-wellness-action-plans_final.pdf
HSE’s Guidance for Stress at work – tool that assesses work-related stress and gives advice and practical guidance on how to manage work-related stress. https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/wbk01.htm
Occupational Health is a service that can help employers to understand their employee’s health condition better and also explore what support/adjustments that they can provide to the employee. According to ACAS, an employer might want to use occupational health to help:
- When an employee is struggling with their physical or mental health
- Make the right reasonable adjustments for disabled people at work
- When an employee has been off sick for a long time or is returning to work after sickness absence
- Reduce the amount of time people need to take off sick
- Keep to other health and safety regulations
- Control risks to mental health, such as too much pressure at work, bullying and harassment
Over 7.7 million people of working age in the UK are disabled or have a health condition, therefore it is important that an organisation has a wellbeing strategy and initiatives that are fit for purpose. Some initiatives that employers may consider putting in place:
- Employee Assistance Programme
- Private Medical Insurance
- Offering free or discounted access to gyms and yoga sessions
- Counselling sessions
If you require expert advice in relation to your company’s wellbeing strategy and benefits or wish to seek advice on specific employee relations cases, reach out to one of our specialists for support by contacting us here.
Benenden Health survey of 2,007 employees, ‘National health and wellbeing at work report’, 2021