STAFF WELLNESSAN OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH OFFERING
STAFF WELLNESS MATTERS
At the point pressure becomes stress, productivity falls. Over time, stress can lead to a toxic environment. One person’s stress can have a knock-on effect on other colleagues. This can send absenteeism on the rise, lead to high performers leaving and potentially cost the company its reputation and strong brand value. Mindfulness has strong evidence for reducing stress and improving mental health.
Annual cost of mental ill health to businesses
Mental ill health at work costs UK employers £26 billion each year (estimate). This equates to an average cost of £1,035 for every employee on your workforce.
Stress, depression and anxiety resulted in 15.2 million days of lost work in 2013.
A survey of over 2,000 people found that workplace stress resulted in 7% having suicidal thoughts and that this figure rose to 10% in younger members of team (18 to 24 year olds).
Up to one in five people said that they developed symptoms of anxiety because of work pressure.
Percentage staff unwilling to disclose stress at work
Stress spreads. Its symptoms are most noticed in reduced productivity and competitiveness, increased absenteeism, worsening relationships with co-workers and customers, higher staff turnover, and declining corporate reputation.
A PREVENTATIVE APPROACH
“We’ve seen politicians, celebrities and sports stars talk about their psychological health. Now it’s time for heads of businesses to take to the stage and normalise this issue… Absence from work shouldn’t be the only trigger for intervention; businesses and organisations need to take steps towards developing a holistic preventative approach to employee wellbeing.”
PATRICK WATT, CORPORATE DIRECTOR BUPA UK AND CHAIR OF BITC WORKWELL MENTAL HEALTH CHAMPIONS GROUP
FACING WORKPLACE STRESS
“You Can’t Stop The Waves, But You Can Learn To Surf.”
Wherever You Go, There You Are
HOW MINDFULNESS HELPS
Mindfulness is a preventative intervention. This gets around the problem of the stigma of singling employees out for a mental health intervention. Mindfulness is relevant for everyone and is a great wellness skill that anyone can benefit from. Mindfulness builds resilience ‘innoculating’ against stress and improving performance.
Mindfulness helps staff to approach situations with more composure even when they subjectively perceive threats. Threats, even if imagined, leads staff to “escape” through flight or fight – they might procrastinate or behave impulsively. These states can persist long after any threat (real or not) has passed. Mindfulness helps staff recognise and change habitual stress reactions to everyday events. This helps staff respond more effectively to complex situations with more clarity.
Mindfulness can help staff disentangle from rumination. Rumination is the tendency to over-think, dwell on and worry about difficulties. Research shows that this is a big factor in generating stress and depression. Mindfulness reduces the tendency to ruminate by improving concentration and focus.
A government review endorses mindfulness.
The government established the Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group to carry out an eight-month inquiry into the evidence for mindfulness training in key areas including workplaces. They recommended that public sector employers pioneer good practice by running mindfulness at work projects to combat stress.
Mental health is recognised as a boardroom issue.
The City Mental Health Alliance (CMHA), a coalition of City-based employers, recognises that fear of discrimination stops workers getting support early on. A group of Business in the Community (BITC) employers also present the business case of ensuring that mental wellbeing is a strategic boardroom issue.
Transport for London (TfL) found strong positive effects for employees attending a stress reduction workshop, teaching Mindfulness.
The statistics and testimonial below tells you more…
- Reduction in the number of days off for stress, anxiety and depression 71% 71%
- Over the following three years absences for all conditions dropped by: 50% 50%
- Participants reporting improvements in their relationships 80% 80%
- Improvements in employees’ ability to relax 79% 79%
- Improvements in employees’ sleep patterns 64% 64%
- Improvements in happiness at work 53% 53%
“We have also been able to reach people who wouldn’t want to come to counselling – this has more of a training feel to it.”
Neuroscience shows mindfulness reduces stress.
EEG measures showed that mindfulness increases activation on the left side of the anterior brain associated with better responding to stressful events. Meditators recover faster after stress and also develop a greater immune function. fMRI also indicates that meditation activates neural structures involved in attention and control of the autonomic nervous system. This reduces reactivity to stress and promotes relaxation.
Radomised control trials (RCT, gold-standard research) of employees shows mindfulness reduces stress.
Research at a large insurance provider found significant reductions in perceived stress and sleep difficulties. Another RCT assessed the effects of meditation on work-related wellbeing (WRW). Office-based middle-hierarchy managers received an eight-week meditation training and showed significant and long-lasting improvements in stress as well as job satisfaction and performance. The researchers give their conclusion in the quotes below:
“This study demonstrates not only the effectiveness, but also the viability of integrating mind-body stress management programs into the workplace using interventions of relatively short duration (12–14 hr)”. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology
“Meditation can effectuate a perceptual shift in how employees experience their work and psychological environment and may thus constitute a cost-effective WRW intervention.” International Journal of Mental Health & Addiction
OTHER MINDFULNESS AT WORK PAGES…
If you would like to learn more about mindfulness in the workplace, please see a summary of the other pages below and links to take you to them. Please contact us with any specific questions you have.
MINDFULNESS @ WORK OVERVIEW
WHAT THEY SAY
Mindfulness has drawn attention at the White House and 10 Downing Street, turned heads at the World Economic Forum and worked its way into the curricula of the world-famous business schools. A growing number of businesses are recognising what mindfulness has to offer and have been early adopters of mindfulness in the workplace. This includes Google, GlaxoSmithKline, KPMG, and PwC, Transport for London (TfL) and The Cabinet Office.
LEARNING & DEVELOPMENT
STAFF & LEADERSHIP TRAINING
Boosting productivity is a concern of every workplace. The issue of productivity embraces a whole range of human psychological skills. This includes being more in the present to focus on the job at hand, making decisions that enhance job efficiency, thinking creatively to spot better solutions and leading others to be better workers. Mindfulness has been proven to bring changes in all of these areas.
Companies rely on the companionship of its employees to be healthy organisations. Communication is at the heart of good business and strong professional relationships. Without good staff relationships, stress soars, productivity plummets and creativity is stifled. Mindfulness improves the ability to work well with others even if the relationship is fraught with difficulty.