The British mental health charity, Mind, has released a report they undertook to assess levels of Wellbeing in UK workplaces. This comes as part of the Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May). The findings indicate that employees from some organisations are not receiving a suitable amount of support from their employers with regard to their mental health and wellbeing.

The ‘Workplace Wellbeing Index’ report found that just a quarter of respondents felt they would be comfortable confiding in their employer if they faced mental health difficulties.

Moreover, only 14 percent of organisations were found to offer “flexible working as a reasonable adjustment” for those with mental health difficulties.

This is particularly concerning when put with another finding that, among respondents who expressed they had had poor mental health in their present workplace, all but 8 percent said it affected how they performed.

There is a further concern that how successfully employers believe they are helping staff wellbeing does not match the responses of those they employ. Close to three-quarters of line managers expressed that helping an employee facing adverse mental health is something they could do successfully. In contrast, just over half of staff survey responses indicated confidence in the ability of those above them to support their wellbeing.

Some more favourable findings are that more than 75 percent of Work areas were described as having natural light and, in most organisations, staff reported that their managers “were good at encouraging their employees to take their full annual leave” allowance. Both of these factors can have positive effects on well-being but, for them to have the greatest impact, other areas of employee experience need to improve.

Who took part?

The report is comprised of an analysis of surveys issued to over 15,000 workers. These survey participants were staff from a total of 30 organisations who volunteered to be part of the study. The employers came from a range of private and public sectors, including “public administration” and “construction”.

A limitation of this is that information is only being garnered about the experiences of people from a select section of the UK workforce.

The findings are important, nonetheless, as they provide an initial indication of both the areas of employee well-being that employers are doing well in, as well as those where there is a need for improvement. According to Mind’s website, preparations for a follow-up report next year are underway.

More needs to be done for workforce well-being

In light of the government's Thriving Art Work’ report last year, and the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPD)’s recent health and wellbeing at work report, the findings from this Workplace Wellbeing Index builds on the growing evidence that more should be done to protect the well-being of the country’s workforce.

Throughout the report, Mind provides insight into best practice for mental wellbeing and it would be fruitful if company policies are reviewed, and amended, to embrace the advice given.

Additionally, the CIPD’s report highlighted where there was a need for improvement in increasing health and wellbeing among the UK’s workers as well as some suggestions for what company’s HR departments could do to achieve this.

If the suggestions from these reports, and others, are implemented, then the future outlook of Britain’s workforce will be more positive.