What this policy covers
This policy applies to employees and workers.
The Company has developed a wellbeing policy to manage its obligations to maintain the mental health and wellbeing of all staff. It covers the Company’s commitment to employee and worker health, the responsibilities of managers and others for maintaining psychological health, health promotion initiatives, communicating and training on health issues, the range of support available for the maintenance of mental health, and organisational commitment to handling individual issues.
The aim of this policy is to describe the Company’s commitment to the mental health and wellbeing of staff in its broadest, holistic sense, setting out how the Company fulfils its legal obligations, the responsibilities of different functions and specialists and the range of services available to help staff maintain health and wellbeing. The Company recognises that wellbeing and performance are linked. Improving staff's ability to handle pressure and to balance work and home life will ultimately lead to improved individual and organisational performance.
The Company has legal obligations under health and safety legislation to manage risks to the health and safety of its staff. In addition to reducing safety risks, this means operating the business in a way that minimises harm to its staff's mental health, for example by ensuring that the demands of jobs are not unacceptable and having policies and procedures in place to support individuals experiencing mental ill health at work.
The Company will put in place measures to prevent and manage risks to staff wellbeing, together with appropriate training and individual support. It will also seek to foster a mentally healthy culture by incorporating these principles into line manager training and running regular initiatives to raise awareness of mental health issues at work.
The Company has a legal duty of care to employees and workers to ensure health at work, as set out in the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999. The Company will ensure that its policies and practices reflect this duty and review the operation of these documents at regular intervals.
Line managers will put in place measures to minimise the risks to staff wellbeing, particularly from negative pressure at work. Managers must familiarise themselves with the Health and Safety Executive's stress management standards, and use these to mitigate psychological risks in their teams. For example, managers should ensure that staff understand their role within the team and receive the necessary information and support from managers and team members to do their job. Managers must also familiarise themselves with the Company’s policies on diversity and tackling inappropriate behaviour in order to support staff, for example on bullying and harassment issues.
In particular, line managers must ensure that they take steps to reduce the risks to staff health and wellbeing by:
ensuring that the right people are recruited to the right jobs and that a good match is obtained between individuals recruited and job descriptions/specifications
keeping the team up to date with developments at work and how these might affect their job and workload
ensuring that staff know who to approach with problems concerning their role and how to pursue issues with senior management
making sure jobs are designed fairly and that work is allocated appropriately between teams and
ensuring that work stations are regularly assessed to ensure that they are appropriate and fit for purpose.
Employees and workers
You must take responsibility for your own health and wellbeing, by adopting good health behaviours (for example in relation to diet, alcohol consumption and smoking) and informing the Company if you believe work or the work environment poses a risk to your health.
If you believe that your work, or some aspect of it, is putting your wellbeing at risk you should, in the first instance, speak to your line manager or the HR department. The discussion should cover workload and other aspects of job demands, and raise issues such as identified training needs.
A referral to the occupational health team will be made if this is considered appropriate after your initial discussion with your manager or the HR department. Discussions between you and the occupational health professionals are confidential, although the occupational health team is likely to provide a report on your fitness to work, and any recommended adaptations to the working environment, to the HR department.
Any health-related information disclosed by you during discussions with managers, the HR department or the occupational health service is treated in confidence.
Occupational health services
Occupational health professionals provide a service designed to help staff to stay in work, or to return to work, after experiencing mental health problems. This may include preparing medical assessments of individuals' fitness for work following referrals from line managers and / or HR, liaising with GPs and working with individuals to help them to retain employment.
Occupational health professionals play a critical part in developing rehabilitation plans for employees and workers returning to work after absences related to mental ill health, and work with GPs and line managers on designing jobs and working environments to ensure that rehabilitation is successful. Occupational health professionals may also design and implement health promotion and lifestyle behaviour management programmes, including initiatives on managing pressure and ongoing health conditions at work.
Training and communication
Line managers and staff will regularly discuss individual training needs to ensure that staff have the necessary skills to adapt to ever-changing job demands. An examination of training needs will be particularly important prior to, and during, periods of organisational change.
Managers and staff are encouraged to participate in communication and feedback exercises, including stress audits and staff surveys. You are expected to be aware of the importance of effective communication and to use the media most appropriate to the message, for example team meetings, one-to-one meetings, electronic communications and organisation-wide methods. The Company will ensure that structures exist to give employees and workers regular feedback on their performance, and for them to raise concerns.
The Company will consider special communication media during periods of organisational change.
Other measures available to support employees and workers in maintaining health and wellbeing include:
procedures for reporting and handling inappropriate behaviour (for example bullying and harassment)
special leave arrangements
opportunities for flexible working
support for workers with disabilities and
the Company’s grievance policy.