National Work Life Balance Week

 In Awareness Campaigns, Mental Health

This year National Work Life Balance Week (NWLBW) is taking place on the 2nd  – 6th October 2017. Getting a healthy balance between your work life and your personal life is important for both your mental and physical health.

The aim of National Work Life Balance Week

This year the awareness week is aiming to help employers and employees to open up dialogues to try and help achieve healthier work-life balance for everyone involved. The campaign will also be encouraging workers to ‘Go home on time’ on the 5th of October as research conducted by workingfamilies.org.uk suggests that parents are working far longer than their contracted hours. This is not only affecting employees but also the children. This is why this campaign is so important for not only the employees but the family structure around them as well.

You can get involved in the discussion on Social Media by using the hashtags #TimeToRebalance and #WorkLifeWeek.

Improving mental health and working performance

Looking after your employees should be one of a company’s main priorities. Employees are a large factor in making an organisation a success and protecting their mental health is important, as the working environment can be extremely stressful.

Below is a table from a report by Royal College of Psychiatrists, which outlines the costs of mental health to UK employers.

Importance of work life balance and the cost of mental health on UK employers

As you can see, presenteeism poses the biggest problem to UK employers, but this can be helped. Presenteeism occurs often because an employee feels insecure in their job and work a lot longer than expected. Therefore, making sure employees feel appreciated and are praised for good performance etc, can go a long way to help rectify this.

Managing stress is important to helping mental health at work as it is the biggest cause of long-term sickness absence for all workers. Also, a survey by MIND revealed that work is the most stressful thing in a person life, ranking above money worries, marriage or relationship issues.

MIND goes on to say that CIPD research suggests that more than four in ten people would always go to work when experiencing mental health problems. This is not conducive to them getting better, or them producing the best work.

Good ways to help manage the stress of your employees are:

  • Give them a comprehensive induction when they start work and get them comfortable in their surroundings.
  • Good line management is key to helping employees stay motivated. Also, it can be key to spotting mental health problems early and intervening compared to bad line management which will only make the problem worse.
  • Help build resilience in your workforce. This can be done by offering advice on coping mechanisms and helping employees deal with pressure.

What can companies do to improve the work life balance of its employees?

National Work-Life Balance Week should be seen as an opportunity for employers to show off their flexible working environments and support their employees work-life-balance. This will ultimately not only help the employees but will help attract the best talent and retain their existent employees.

The creators of NWLBW have offered the following advice on how employers can get involved this year:

  • Offer lunchtime work-life balance advice to your staff. For example asking a senior manager to share insights on how they balance their time.
  • Highlight great examples of people working flexibly in your workforce.
  • Encourage employees to use digital devices to increase flexibility over when and where they work rather than an ‘always on’ approach to working hours
  • Promote existing family-friendly and flexible working policies, practices and case studies in staff newsletters and on the intranet
  • Encourage your employee networks to hold events to mark the week
  • Encourage employees to share on social media what helps them achieve a better work-life balance, using the hashtag #timetorebalance

Stats from surveys about stress at work

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) conducted a survey on work-related stress, anxiety and depression in the UK in 2014/2015. The HSE website has the full survey results. However, below are a few of the key finding outlined by the HSE:

  • The total number of cases of work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2014/15 was 440,000 cases, a prevalence rate of 1380 per 100,000 workers.
  • The number of new cases was 234,000, an incidence rate of 740 per 100,000 workers. The estimated number and rate have remained broadly flat for more than a decade.
  • The total number of working days lost due to this condition in 2014/15 was 9.9 million days. This equated to an average of 23 days lost per case.
  • In 2014/15 stress accounted for 35% of all work-related ill health cases. 43% of all working days lost due to ill health.
  • Stress is more prevalent in public service industries, such as education; health and social care; and public administration and defence.
  • By occupation, jobs that are common across public service industries (such as health; teaching; business, media, and public service professionals) show higher levels of stress as compared to all jobs.
  • The main work factors cited by respondents as causing work-related stress, depression or anxiety were workload pressures, including tight deadlines and too much responsibility and a lack of managerial support.

 

References

  1. http://www.workingfamilies.org.uk/campaigns/national-work-life-week-2016/
  2. http://www.workingfamilies.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/NWLW-employer-toolkit-DIGITAL-VERSION.pdf
  3. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/212266/hwwb-mental-health-and-work.pdf
  4. https://www.mind.org.uk/media/44253/Managing_and_supporting_MH_at_work.pdf
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