Nowadays the importance of mental illnesses grows steadily. Stress in today’s society has become a global problem. Moreover, a significant part of the tension connected with work. People experiencing stress, anxiety, and mild depression at work cannot perform their duties effectively. In this regard, it is necessary to examine the role of employers in managing mental health problems and identify the sickness absence.
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Professor Dome Carol Black provides persuasive arguments confirming the significance of the mental health problems. Precisely speaking, she demonstrates the list of issues that prevent people from going at work, where common mental health illnesses take the dominant position consisting approximately 25 percents of the whole cases (Improving Health in Our Workplaces – Professor Dame Carol Black). Moreover, mental problems cost companies’ about £ 28 billion per year.
Therefore, the paramount issue managers should care about is the psychological or psycho-social well-being of the employee. It can include hospitalization, outpatient treatment, and lower labor productivity costs. Besides, the occupational stress starting from one employee can cover the whole department and spread to the entire company. Such a “contamination” occurs due to the fact that people under stress become pessimistic and have strong negative perception and assessment of the situation.
Continuously interacting with colleagues at work under the influence of the same stressors, the majority of employees feel the development of the same symptoms of burnout. The realization of the above facts is crucially important for ensuring appropriate working environment.
Speaking of the role of employers in this situation, it seems necessary to point out that “employees believe that their senior management has a sincere interest in their well-being” (Improving Health in Our Workplaces – Professor Dame Carol Black). Consequently, managers should meet their requirements and engage in the health workplace. Professor stresses the essence of the early professional intervention that should be supported by line managers.
The latter might be expressed in the efficient communication with the personnel, awareness of their problems, and establishing the open culture that contributes to the problems discussion. In other words, she advises a consultative approach that suggests open and friendly work atmosphere free of stress and anxiety where the employer might receive the appropriate and timely psychological help if needed. In particular, the senior management should possess the qualities of a good communicator and enhance employees’ engagement along with autonomy (HR Professionals and Health & Wellbeing). In its turn, it would promote employees’ confidence in the company and increase the satisfaction with the senior management.
What is more important, according to Professor Dome Carol Black, line managers should “allieviate their own stress in order to deal with people affected by stress” (Revisions (important). Indeed, it goes without saying that stressed people cannot react adequately and consciously to the other apprehensive situation.
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In this regard, it is of great importance to define the concept of the sickness absence. It is the absence from work, as a rule, the unplanned one, because of illness (Sickness Absence Management). Professor reckons that “if you intervene in day one appropriately, then you can help people return to work” (Improving Health in Our Workplaces – Professor Dame Carol Black).
The speaker considers that the management should reduce the length of sickness absence from work to manage sickness absence and return to work (Improving Health in Our Workplaces – Professor Dame Carol Black). It would allow companies to raise the productivity and achieve higher results. Therefore, there is a need to develop an attendance management policy in accomplishing the occupational health of employees.
Among the underlying principles, one might note attendance management policy that consists of 3 episodes in 3 months, 28 days continuous absence, and rolling 12 month period along with 3-stage review the last of which may lead to dismissal (Sickness Absence Management). Taking into account key elements of the attendance management, there are line managers who often are underestimated, senior managers, effective communication tools including phone and tête-à-tête contact, and conferences.
In order to implement the attendance management successfully, it is significant to develop the comprehensive strategy that would embrace all the aspects of the healthy workplace environment. First of all, the manager should evaluate the sickness absence case concerning its causes, duration, and other components. Second, according to NICE guidance, the absence from work supposes initial enquiries supported by the detailed assessment and coordinating and delivering intervention and services.
As a result of the above strategy, the employer is the most likely to return to work soon. Likewise, special staff training programs based on the diagnostic results might be rather useful to evade and reduce the sickness absence. The central theme of such programs should not be how to eschew stressful situations but how to find the most optimal ways to avoid psychological tension.
In conclusion, it should be emphasized that the paper discussed the crucial role of the employer in ensuring healthy working conditions free of stress and anxiety. Additionally, the sickness absence policy, namely, ways to reduce it by means of employees’ appropriate early intervention and further coordination by the line manager were identified.