Mind – why it really is your own business

Well-being; the buzzword of the moment shows no sign of losing momentum anytime soon. And with 12.5 million working days lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17 – a cost of £6.5bn – to the economy, it’s an issue that can’t be ignored.

The main work factors contributing to ‘unwell-being’ cited by HSE survey respondents were workload pressures, (including tight deadlines and too much responsibility) and a lack of managerial support. A further study carried out by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (as it then was) found that steps taken by organisations to improve the well-being of their staff directly correlated with an improvement in performance, profitability, productivity and output quality.

Employers have a legal duty to protect the health and safety of their employers, and forward-thinking companies are extending this duty to mental health and well-being because they understand that that they have to speculate to accumulate when it comes to the happiness of their staff. They recognise that investing in your workforce is both key to attracting and retaining talent because a business is only as good as its people.

Similarly, when it comes to well-being, we’ve found that among our jugglers, being able to work flexibly is key to feeling engaged. Whether it’s:

it’s clear that a feeling of freedom is absolutely crucial.

Our research is supported by the Cochrane review which found that self-scheduling of shifts led to significant improvements in primary outcomes blood pressure and heart rate; tiredness; mental health, sleep duration, sleep quality and alertness  and secondary health outcomes co-workers social support and sense of community. Notably, flexi-time (with its more limited independence) did not have the same positive effect.

So what can you do to make a difference?

Be honest and talk to your staff about their needs in the work space: offer front line and pastoral support, implement strategies like the Mental Health Toolkit  and sign up to Sanctus’ mental health pledge that encourages employers to create an open environment where mental health is supported, and people can bring their ‘full selves’ to work. Also, prioritise job satisfaction – including training, skills development opportunities and career progression.

Flexible working increases the level of autonomy people have, bolsters the willingness of staff to take responsibility for their output and helps foster a driven, committed workforce – it should therefore be a principal focus. Not just how much scope people have to use their own initiative and influence decisions, but how much autonomy they believe they have, because feeling in control matters and as with many issues, perception is everything.

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Juggle Jobs is a digital platform that connects businesses with high-quality vetted professionals looking to work flexibly. If you want more information about how we can help you, please email us at info@jugglejobs.co.uk.

Juggle Jobs is listed as one of Recruiter.com’s “Top 10 HR Tech Start-Ups”: Top 10 HR Tech Start-Ups (Recruiter.com)