The Workers Union is calling for fresh investment to tackle the spectre of anxiety and stress at work.
In a statement released this morning, a spokesperson for the organisation said: ‘Working people are assaulted on all sides by a perfect storm of post-pandemic blues, return to work worries and the cost of living crisis. With people accessing mental health services in their droves, it’s time that companies took the wellbeing of their staff seriously.
‘It is not enough to provide outsourced ‘counselling lines’ or dump more and more responsibilities on middle managers; bosses must make heavy investments in mental health champions, and provide a full range of mechanisms that take the fear and stigma away from workers who are struggling with depression and anxiety. At the end of the day, it shouldn’t take a genius to work out that when wellbeing becomes a fundamental building block of a company’s proposition, everybody wins.’
The union’s statement came after recent figures published by mental health provider Priory highlighted the extent of the issue. In a sobering article, the institution said that their stress and anxiety enquiries had risen by 55 percent since 2019. At the same time, the figures reflect general trends reported by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The WHO said that COVID had led to increased levels of anxiety and stress on a global scale, with a 25 percent uptick during year 1 of the pandemic alone.
The Workers Union Says…
Good mental health at work should be a cornerstone of any self-respecting company’s policy towards its staff. Happy, healthy, motivated workers keep business costs down. They are more receptive to new ideas, more invested in the success of their projects and more innovative as a consequence. Moreover, in taking care of staff emotionally, as well as financially, businesses play a part in eradicating the idea that workers are merely drones there to crank the handles of trade, while the top brass fill their own pockets.
Progressive companies will understand that this model is broken. If it doesn’t resonate with managers elsewhere, it’s probably because they have failed to anticipate the coming revolution. Workers no longer want the limits of their working lives proscribed by the ticking of the works’ clock. We are at the dawn of a new age, when the power of flexibility and choice will emancipate staff from 9 to 5 and create arrangements that reflect the changed landscape of our post-pandemic world.
The companies that acknowledge that this is now the game and provide a framework in which work/life balance and mental health provision are reflected in their values, will be the companies that rise to the top of the new global order. It is long past time that empathy won some much needed ground from the advocates of pure profit; the question must now be: ‘who has the decency to grasp this opportunity?’