How workplace culture affects mental health at work

Piers Bishop · January 8, 2016

According to the CIPD over 40% of UK companies reported an increase in problems with mental health at work last year. This is terrible news for everyone – the cost to the economy as a whole, the individual companies and, worst of all, for the people affected. The biggest single cause is of course our old friend ‘stress’- a catch-all term for whatever it is about life that is making people feel, well, stressed, without going so far as to qualify for a real psychiatric diagnosis.

Acknowledging that at least some of the stress probably originates inside work, many organisations are signing up to things like the Mindful Employer scheme scheme, or getting someone to train in Mental Health First Aid scheme (MHFA). But this is shutting the stable door after the horse has become anxious and depressed – the workplace should never be in the business of making people ill in the first place.

WeThrive exists to reduce workplace stress – not just because it makes people ill, though it is an honour to be helping people live calmer, more productive working lives, but also because if you can achieve this you will find your people become smarter, more imaginative and more collaborative. Quite some bonus…

It’s good to see the business press taking notice – see the article at how WeThrive helps improve mental health at work in the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals magazine or view it here. I predict we’ll see a lot more of this in the near future, as businesses wake up from the era of command-and-control management and realise they have a central role to play in their employees’ health – for practical, financial and humane reasons.

Embedding employee wellbeing into your workplace culture is not about being ‘nice’ to employees, or spoiling them with baubles like yoga sessions or free muesli. It’s about understanding from the inside what people need to be calm, energised and productive, and where and why each individual member of your staff is not in that state. Only then can you do something about it – to everyone’s benefit.

Try the survey now.