So if you’re reading this, then you made it through the most depressing day of the year. Monday 16th January, or ‘Blue Monday’ is the time when the festivities are well and truly over, we’re back into monotonous routine, and there feels like there’s not a great deal to look forward to. It’s also bang in the middle of a period when staff absences are likely to be high.
Adrian Lewis, Director of Activ Absence, said:
“Weary workers cannot face coming into work – it’s a long month, too, with financial woes often adding to the problem for an already stressed workforce. It’s a challenge that HR professionals face every year.
Mental health issues often create a pattern of short-term sickness absence, and sufferers often find it easier to face disciplinary action for faking a sickie than to admit they have a mental health issue, because of the stigma attached to this. Not only does ‘being in trouble’ make them feel even worse, it also prevents them from getting the support they could get if their managers were aware of the problem.”
Interestingly, the same week, Prime Minister Theresa May discussed the UK’s mental health crisis, and pledged to spend an extra £250 million per year on NHS provisions to tackle the issues.
Whatever your views might be though around this statement, mental health isn’t something that can be solely tackled from the very top down. Business owners and line managers need to take responsibility and recognise that they play a role in the wellbeing of their staff.
So whilst you breathe a sigh of relief that the most depressing day of the year is now behind us, it might not be time to look forward to the summer months just yet. Take the time to think about how you can ensure that your staff are happy, productive, and enjoying good mental health.
It has business benefits but sure… But it’s also simply the right thing to do.