One minute you’re typing away on your computer and then the next, you’ve broken down and cried in front of a co-worker. And it’s all because the co-worker asked if you’re okay because you haven’t taken your lunch. Work-related stress is a huge problem in all industries. That was why on October 10 last year, the theme for World Mental Health Day was well-being in the workplace. It’s often overlooked that employers are also legally responsible for the well-being of their employees.
As an employer, not only are you required to follow the labor laws, but there are necessary health and safety measures that you must undertake. For example, has your management team taken workshops on psychology? These are designed to help understand the causes of stress, anxiety, and depression in the workplace. Attending these workshops will equip your team with the tools and knowledge to determine if an employee is suffering from mental health problems. This way, you can seek professional advice and possible therapies for them.
The labor laws said employers must provide a comprehensive benefits package and reward scheme to employees. This will go a long way toward improving the mental health of employees. This will assure access to health benefits in case they need to be hospitalized or attend therapy sessions. Part of the compensation package should be access to mental health services. This proves to your employees that you care about their well-being as well.
Aside from health-related services, you may also want to partner with a local gym or yoga studio to provide discounts for any of your employees who want to enroll in a class. Workers could benefit from meditation or running on the treadmill for 30 minutes a day. Gym activities will release happy hormones such as endorphins. This chemical in your body triggers a positive feeling.
Health and Safety
Whether your business requires manual labor or not, your employees should be trained in health and safety practices. The United Kingdom’s health and safety act said it aims to provide information to ensure the health and safety of all employees in the workplace. Two key legislations ensure this: the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The latter also demands that employers must take risk assessments of their workers’ mental health.
Harassment and Discrimination
The laws also require employers to ensure that the workplace is free from any form of harassment, bullying, and discrimination. There have been many instances wherein employers were held liable because they failed to protect their employees from discriminatory acts in the workplace. That’s why it’s important to assess your employees’ mental health. You should also open your doors to anyone who wants to talk about certain practices in the company.
Employers can face legal trouble by not ensuring anti-discrimination laws in the office are being practiced. An affected employee may file a lawsuit against employers who allowed discrimination based on race, religion, and sexual orientation to happen. Training everyone in the company to treat each other equally will go a long way toward correcting many societal injustices.
One of the leading causes of work-related stress is long working hours. The idea of an eight-hour a day work was born out of the struggles of the 19th century. Advocates campaigned hard to ensure that workers will rightfully have rest days each week. If you’re taking over your employees’ weekends because there’s too much work in the company, they should be properly compensated. They should also have the right to say no without repercussions.
Your employees are within their legal rights to demand 24 hours without work each week, or 48 hours each fortnight. This right extends to laborers of all ages, regardless of the industry they are in. Workers should also be able to take breaks within the day. These are essential to reducing the stress and anxiety of workers.
Several labor force surveys showed that a whopping 80% of workers feel stress on the job. The causes of stress are varied. Some said it’s because of the heavy workload and interpersonal conflict. Others pointed to bullying, lack of opportunities, and ineffective management.
That is why employers must undertake workplace practices that prevent stress. These practices should also help identify when workers are burned out so that appropriate assistance can be given. The promotion of the employees’ well-being should be a priority for employers, and it all begins with a supportive work environment.
Employers are legally responsible for the well-being of their workers. They must undertake measures to reduce absenteeism and boost the morale of the employees. Making them feel happy in the workplace ensures that they are more productive and efficient. So, in a sense, employers aren’t just following the laws, but they are also taking up these measures to ensure their workers can work better.