Mental Wellbeing in a business environment: Prevention is much better than cure

The real way to improve Mental Wellbeing and Productivity in the Workplace

We have all been trying to assess and improve the wellbeing of our people for years now. We have provided wellbeing resources like apps, EAPs and other support tools, to manage symptoms of stress.

BUT we need to go further now – we need education on what reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and their impact on our people, on our business. We need to understand the root causes and work on a pathway to prevention.

A look back at 2020’s wellbeing in the workplace

We have been firefighting throughout 2020, with COVID-19, lockdown, remote working and furloughing of our workforces. Many of us have been applying our wellbeing first aid measures just to get through these challenging times. But what have we as leaders learnt from this? What do we need to do next?

From APB’s experience, we need to be ahead of the game for the ’new normal’!

Why not frame it to become the ‘dynamic normal’ and help your organisation’s resilience to be developed through:

  • Building active strategic plans for improving wellbeing, culture and productivity – not making it a tick box exercise.
  • Reducing stress, anxiety and depression through root cause analysis.
  • Understanding and setting organisational wellbeing benchmarks – a continuing journey to continual improvement.
  • Building and solidifying stress prevention plans.
  • Reducing presenteeism – Improving productivity through targeted support and effective change management.

Now’s the time:

As we come out of the COVID-19 Lockdown, there has never been a better time to act and to begin again, stronger, more creative and more productive. And, as if we needed encouragement, we are being asked to comply with a new standard of care at work.

So, what do we understand by the term “prevention” in the world of wellbeing in the workplace?

Prevention begins with an understanding of the root causes of stress that, left unattended, lead to anxiety and depression, and impact productivity. With this understanding in hand, a targeted approach, based on a clear stress prevention strategy can be translated into an organisational pathway that will improve the wellbeing and the culture of your people in the workplace.

The biggest beneficiaries of this approach are of course you and your people, but the positive impact on your business is enormous. Reducing stress levels in your organisation improves wellbeing for your people, directly reducing presenteeism and making significant improvements in productivity.

APB’s studies with our clients have shown that even simple, yet immediate, actions to address just some of the core causes of stress can make substantial improvements in both wellbeing and productivity. We have found that data and measurement are key to actively drive strategic and targeted engagement, improvement and support plans.

We must now progress into more mitigating ‘let’s find out why and fix things at source’ processes. i.e. Prevention!

At APB we ask some key questions:

  • Do you understand why your people are stressed or worse, anxious or depressed?
  • Do you know if your people are themselves at work and if not, why not?  This is known as presenteeism – what level of presenteeism exists in your organisation?
  • Do you understand the impact of presenteeism on your business?
  • Can you identify the root causes of stress, understand the levels of stress in your organisation and measure their impact on your business?

And we offer some advice for leaders on:

  • What to do to reduce and prevent stress – what a programme of preventive action looks like.
  • How to understand and know that the support and care you provide is effecting positive change.
  • How to measure the effectiveness of the support you are providing.
  • Why it is crucial to your bottom line – why taking action against stress delivers improvement to your productivity.

Very soon we won’t have a Choice!

ISO/DIS45003 – Occupational health and safety management – Psychological health and safety at work (currently in development)

specifically looks at the psychosocial risks. As an international standard, it will become the key focus for organisations in 2021, and will be on the leadership agenda with a key question “How do we prevent mental ill-health in the workplace?” and “How do we mitigate the psychosocial risks within our organisation?”

APB’s StressFactor™ can help you get ahead of the game:

We have reviewed what is already in the public domain on ISO450003, and can confirm that running our stress diagnostic tool StressFactor™ should give you the evidence base you need to comply with the standard and achieve ISO450003 certification.

More than just complying with the standard, StressFactor™ gives you the evidence base to be sure footed as you plan how to prevent stress in the workplace, improve peoples’ lives and productivity – straight to your bottom line.

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