Andy Bishop, Health and Safety Consultant

For those of you that know me, you will understand that I suffer with a degrading and sometimes embarrassing condition – I am a Southampton FC fan. I follow the team passionately and attend as many games as I can (I didn’t renew my season ticket, this was a shrewd investment on my part), I was there when we scored two goals in the same game at West Brom last season. I am an eternal optimist and every week I put my money where my mouth is and place a bet on the mighty reds to win (gamble responsibly, when the fun stops, Stop! etc). When the odds are around 10/1 I see that as a worthy bet with a good chance of getting back ten times as much money as I outlay.

Now, if I were to tell you of simple change to make in your business that would result in a similar return of £9.98 return for every £1 invested, I reckon I’d have your attention. Its all to do with the mental health and wellbeing of our staff.
Currently in the UK we spend approx. £33 – 42Billion per annum with half of this cost as a result of ‘presenteeism’ – when an individual is less productive due to poor mental health and the additional costs that sickness absence and staff turnover create.

The Government spend between £24-£27Billion in providing benefits, costs to the NHS and the subsequent drop in tax revenue as a result of a shrinking workforce and we all know how crucial that kind of money is when it comes to the UK!

More than both those combined is the cost to the economy which is placed at between £74-£99Billion a year!
In my opinion, the cost in terms of the personal impact on the lives of all those involved, family, friends, colleagues, supervisors and managers is far more worrying than the financial losses.

As employers, there is a legal and a moral duty to look after the mental health of our workforce. As we all know the Health and Safety at Work Act places duties on employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our workforce.

The HSE have developed a set of six Management Standards and a toolkit to be used in assessing how well stress is managed within your workforce. The management standards focus on those areas which cause the most stress, they are:
• Demands
• Relationships
• Role
• Control
• Management of Change
• Support

By completing an assessment of these areas within your workforce you will be better placed to reap the benefits. By having a happy workforce, we will have a more productive work force and will be better placed to reap the rewards of the £9.98 return per £1 invested in training.

For information and guidance on applying the management standards to your workforce book onto the Mental Health Awareness – Managing Occupational Stress course run at our training centre in Southampton.

For further information on the facts and figures in this blog please see ‘Thriving at Work – The Stevenson/Farmer Review of Mental Health and Employers’.

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