EVEN THOUGH it is widely accepted that Britain needs to improve its productivity if the country is to keep pace with its economic rivals, there is less consensus on how this should be achieved.
Yet, while new technology and automation will play a part, it is, ironically, one of the issues that is probably adding to the stress and anxiety of today’s workers, and having an indirect impact on their effectiveness.
However, while mental health was once a taboo issue, this is no longer the case. Societal attitudes have changed, and predominantly for the better, thanks to greater awareness and understanding, hence today’s launch, by the Duke of Cambridge, of a new Mental Health at Work ‘gateway’. It has been developed by Mind, and other charities, so that support and guidance is available for employers and employees alike.
Given the number of staff who still feel uncomfortable talking to their boss about issues pertaining to stress, and estimates that an unhappy work environment could cost the economy up to £99bn a year, this is a necessary, timely and welcome development.
Yet, while health and safety legislation performs a vital role in protecting the physical wellbeing of staff in the workplace, there’s been less focus on the mental wellbeing of workers – and how their health might be compromised by the demands, responsibilities and expectations being placed on them. However, while there are many organisations in Yorkshire who have long realised that there is a direct link between staff morale and productivity, it can only be hoped that others now feel able to follow suit.