Thirty organisations including Barclays, Royal Mail, and John Lewis have signed a commitment to recognise the importance of promoting staff wellbeing and good mental health.
The Mental Health at Work Commitment provides a framework of six core standards to create working environments where employees feel they can thrive. They build on the standards proposed by the government-commissioned Thriving at Work review two years ago.
Only half (51%) of workers feel comfortable talking about mental health at work, according to a YouGov survey conducted for Business in the Community and Mercer Marsh Benefits. Two in five (39%) say they have experienced a work-related mental health issue in the past year.
Sir Ian Cheshire, chairman of the Thriving at Work Leadership Council and chairman of Barclays UK, said: “There are no quick fixes, or simple solutions when it comes to mental health. Yet there’s no ignoring the fact that work is often a contributory factor for people whose mental health is suffering.
“As employers, there are lots of things we can do that can make a difference to how our employees feel at work. The six standards we are setting out today are based on, what best practice has shown, is needed to make a difference.”
The core standards under the Mental Health at Work Commitment, which have been developed by businesses, mental health charities and trade organisations, are:
- Prioritise mental health in the workplace by developing and delivering a systematic programme of activity
- Proactively ensure work design and organisational culture drive positive mental health outcomes
- Promote an open culture around mental health
- Increase organisational confidence and capability
- Provide mental health tools and support
- Increase transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting.
David Oldfield, chair of the Wellbeing Leadership Team at Business in the Community and group director, commercial banking, at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “The research showing how people are feeling in the workplace should be a concern for all of us. With one in four people experiencing a mental health problem in any given year, it’s likely that many of our colleagues may be struggling, and we have a responsibility to take action.
“We would encourage all businesses to challenge themselves on what more they can do to protect and support the health and wellbeing of their colleagues. This commitment provides a framework to do this, supported by a one stop shop of resources. The more employers of all sizes who sign up and take action, the more of a real difference we can make.”