A 2016 ESRI study found that anxiety, stress and depression were the second highest cause of work-related illness in Ireland. Employers have an obligation to ensure the health of employees is not endangered in the course of their work. While it is important for Employers to engage with Employee Assistance Programmes (EAP’s) and ensure wellness policies are put in place, more can be done in this area. There are many benefits to placing importance on the well-being of employees and Irish businesses are definitely becoming more conscious of stress-management, well-being and mental health in the workplace. A successful wellness policy creates benefits for both Employers and Employees.
Employer benefits include increased output and productivity, reduced absenteeism and staff turnover and increased morale. Successful Wellness policies also give Employers the ability to attract and retain the best employees by improving their Employer brand. Employees benefits include enhanced job satisfaction and motivation, improved physical health and lower stress levels.
It is not enough to just complete a yoga class once a year and see wellness as a ticking the box type exercise. The best employers will know that it is important to invest the time and resources to make sure that any policies put in place are tailored specifically to their own workforce. Examples of possible wellness services are Health screening, Stress management services, Counselling services, Meditation and provision of healthy nutritional information. In this technology-based world, it is also important to let employees know that they need to unplug at the end of the day. It may be necessary to keep an eye on emails during a certain project or over a very busy period. However, everyone needs downtime and employees should know that they are not expected to be available to the business at all times.
You can download the Health and Safety Authority’s ‘Work-Related Stress - A Guide for Employers’ document from the HSA website to learn more about what Employers need to do to manage Stress in their Workplace: