A Shropshire solicitor specialising in employment law and litigation is urging businesses across the region to consider the impact that work-related stress has on the performance of their employees after a call for better support for those living with mental health problems.
With a recent report published by the Chief Medical Officer for England showing 70 million days were lost last year to mental illness at a cost of up to £100 billion to the economy, Jemma Jones of Shropshire-based PCB Solicitors is encouraging business owners and managers to acknowledge their employees’ mental health and wellbeing as part of their management responsibilities.
The call for better employee-support follows an annual report that suggests supporting workers living with mental illness early on can help people stay in employment. A number of techniques have been identified that employers can implement to improve stress-related absence and improve employee welfare, such as undertaking staff surveys, risk assessments, assistance programmes, and introducing training for management teams to help them understand the complexities of mental illnesses.
“Stress has always been in the workplace – some people thrive on it, and some don’t,” Jemma Jones, employment solicitor at PCB Solicitors, explained. “All too often, employers have been reluctant to recognise the effect that stress has on staff performance, but ignoring it can prove counterproductive in many cases, with staff making mistakes, feeling unmotivated, and even taking prolonged sickness leave.
“Employees are the biggest asset a company has,” Jemma explained, “and with research revealing stress-related absence is on the rise, it’s important to ensure that all staff feel mentally healthy so that they can work to the best of their ability, which ultimately yields better results for the company. For many individuals suffering from a mental illness, having a job may be crucial in managing their condition, but all too often employees get little support to go back to work after a period of mental illness.
“There’s often been a stigma attached to people suffering from mental illnesses such as stress but there are a number of solutions to ensure that staff work to their best ability,” she added. “It could be something as simple as promoting a healthy work and life balance through flexible working hours for example. Ultimately, it’s up to an employer to help improve sickness absence in their workplace, but for those with little time to spare, it’s beneficial to have a member of the team responsible for listening to employees, talking about and understanding pressures outside of work, as well as addressing and prioritising their workload.
PCB Solicitors LLP has offices in Shrewsbury, Broseley, Church Stretton, Craven Arms, Knighton, Ludlow, Telford, and Worcester.