Mylo Kaye is an experienced business communication consultant, mental health advocate, and wellness coach.

As businesses throughout the UK and the rest of the world grapple with the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, there is a growing emphasis on the importance of mental health in the workplace.

Companies that are easing restrictions on access to offices or adapting hybrid work arrangements must recognise the complexities of returning to in-person work after 18 months of upended lives due to the pandemic. Concerns about the economy and Brexit only compound the issue.

Statistics Show Rise in Mental Health Costs

The recent Labour Force Survey by the federal Office for National Statistics showed that in 2018 and 2019, 12.48 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, anxiety, and depression. Those ailments accounted for 54 percent of working days lost to health issues and 44 percent of all work-related illnesses.

Consider the implications of that much lost time, productivity, and pressure on employees and employers. From a financial perspective alone, it is clear that there is a genuine need for employers to address work-related mental health issues.

To be productive, employees need to feel safe, protected, and treated fairly. With the extraordinary number of stressors at play in people’s work and home lives, the impacts of not addressing mental wellness are dire.

A recent report issued by Deloitte further highlights the importance of addressing these issues head-on. The report, issued in January 2020, quantifies the costs of mental health issues in the workforce and the gains for investing in this area.

According to Deloitte, the cost of mental health concerns is up to £45 billion annually. Today’s always-on, technologically driven workplaces are contributing factors to increases in employee burnout, especially among younger employees. Increased debt among younger people also adds to stress levels.

The Deloitte analysis shows that investments in mental well-being can yield significant returns. On average, the return for these investments is £5 for every £1 invested (though the returns ranged from 0.4:1 to 11:1).

That investment return is one that most people would bank on.

The commitments that showed the most significant returns, according to Deloitte, were:

  • Organisational initiatives that supported large numbers of employees
  • Large-scale changes in corporate culture
  • Changes focused on prevention and building personal resilience
  • Technologies and diagnostics that create supports for those most at risk

Support Available for Employers

The Health and Safety Executive, a government agency that monitors and regulates workplace health, safety, and welfare, includes employee protection from stress as part of its legally mandated requirements for employers. The agency has developed management standards that employers can use to help identify and pinpoint areas of worker stress.

The standards are intended to assess workplace conditions, show best practices, encourage active discussion and reduce risk. It’s broken into six work areas that, if not appropriately managed, can lead to lower productivity, poor health, and increased rates of sickness absences and workplace accidents.

The six areas are:

  • Demands (workload, work patterns, and the work environment)
  • Control (how much influence employees have in their work)
  • Support (Resources, encouragement, and sponsorship provided by the organisation, management, and colleagues)
  • Relationships (Promotion of working positively to reduce conflict and address unacceptable behaviour)
  • Role (Understanding of roles in the organisation and organisational commitment to preventing conflicting roles)
  • Change (How changes large and small are communicated throughout the organisation)

The agency also provides a series of valuable resources on its website to assist employers and employees. The resources include tips for managing work-related stress, a risk assessment, workplace posters, a workbook, and case studies. There’s also a “talking toolkit” section for managers to help facilitate productive conversations with employees about preventing stress and some sector-specific tools.

Signs of stress vary significantly by individual but typically take on several forms. There can be physical symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, or stomach distress. There are also emotional signs, including anxiety, irritability, impatience, or depression. Identifying these signs in employees early on can lead to conversations and interventions that can prevent problems with stress from growing larger.

During the pandemic, financial stressors have become all too frequent. The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute reports that two-thirds of employees experiencing financial stress show at least one symptom of poor mental health and encourage employers to provide resources to help employees deal with these issues.

Once a taboo topic, mental health has become far more accepted as an area where people can seek help without fear of judgment or derision. For employers and employees alike, it is an important area of discussion and support.

About Mylo Kaye

Mylo Kaye helps companies with coaching, people development, and training. Based in Manchester, Mylo Kaye has more than 10 years of experience helping people communicate and work more effectively. For more information, visit


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