In light of the challenges of the pandemic and as part of an ongoing commitment to employee wellbeing, Thomson Reuters has introduced two annual company mental health day holidays, commencing in 2022.
On those days, Thomson Reuters encourages employees to ‘use the time off with intention and do something that gives the day meaning to them’.
This poses a question for organisations who share this increased focus on employee wellbeing. Are they also willing to implement such policies?
Why Invest in Employee Wellbeing?
There is now a much broader understanding and application of holistic health and wellbeing approaches in many workplaces. It is also clear that some companies are not yet embracing the health and wellbeing agenda to full effect.
Investing in employee wellbeing can lead to increased resilience, better employee engagement, reduced sickness absence and higher performance and productivity. To gain real benefit, employee wellbeing priorities must be integrated throughout an organisation, embedded in its culture, leadership and people management.
Rising Mental Health Concerns
There has been a rise in the number of reported mental health issues over the past 10 years and it’s well recognised that in many cases the main risks to people’s health at work are psychological. This has led to a growing recognition of the need for employee wellbeing practices to address to psychological, as well as physical, aspects of health and wellbeing.
CIPD’s 2022 Health and Wellbeing at Work survey report show that organisations’ wellbeing activity is increasingly focused on mental health, with most organisations taking steps to support mental health and address workplace stress.
The survey also found evidence of a range of unhealthy working practices such as ‘presenteeism’ (people working when unwell), with 81% of organisations reporting presenteeism among people working from home and 65% in a physical workplace. Two thirds (67%) have also observed some form of ‘leavism’, such as using holiday entitlement when unwell or to work, over the past 12 months.
Looking Beyond the Statistics
There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure all workplaces are giving this topic the time and attention it deserves. Employers need to look beyond absence statistics to understand the underlying factors, such as unmanageable workloads, that are driving unhealthy working practices and influencing people’s wellbeing.
Your organisation may wish to support its wellbeing agenda through new initiatives such as additional wellbeing days for its employees, to demonstrate this driving focus on supporting them through the ever-evolving challenge of balancing work and life pressures.