The Importance of Employee Wellbeing and Mental Health in the Workplace

Did you know that around 1 in 7 people experience mental health problems in the workplace? (1). Employee wellbeing should be a top priority for employers. There are too many instances where talented employees are suffering from mental health challenges that impact their performance at work, and potentially result in them leaving their job. At Sereniti, we’re keen advocates for helping businesses start wellbeing programmes, learn more about wellness in the workplace, and help their employees through their challenges.

What does wellbeing at work mean?

Wellbeing at work refers to having a strategy or support system in place that helps employees through any mental health challenges they are experiencing. For some companies this could be engaging in wellbeing workshops to increase awareness or hiring or outsourcing a professional to support employees. Each workplace is different and it’s important to find the right solution for your team.

Two women talking

What are the benefits of employee wellbeing and wellness in the workplace?

1. Increased Productivity

If your employees are happy, safe, and secure they are more likely to be productive. Supporting mental health at work them with mental health challenges gives them the space to focus on their role.

2. Improved Retention Rates

Recruiting new staff members is timely, costly, and disruptive. Retaining your employees and supporting their workplace wellbeing is a valuable investment that costs less than you think. According to the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, if better mental health support is offered in the workplace it can save UK businesses up to £8 billion annually. (2)

3. Reduced absenteeism

Healthier staff, both physically and mentally, results in less sick days. This helps staff performance, productivity, and being present and a part of the team.

4. Better Staff Morale

A low morale affects the entire team. Leading by example and creating a positive and supportive environment benefits everyone. Having a workplace wellbeing strategy in place will help get employees back on track in their time of need, and peace of mind knowing support is there if needed.

What does a wellbeing consultant do?

Our experienced consultants work with businesses to assess their current levels of mental health and wellbeing. From an initial assessment they then implement a strategy and wellbeing plan to suit the organisation’s and employees’ needs. This strategy includes support for line managers, mental health champions, and employees.

A woman presenting a workplace wellbeing workshop to a group of employees sat around a meeting table

What is the employer’s responsibility for wellbeing in the workplace? Are there any legal or ethical obligations?

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HASWA) lays down wide-ranging duties on employers.  Employers have a legal duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees and other people who might be affected by their work activities, including their wellbeing. Employers must do whatever is reasonably practical to achieve this protection. Employees also have responsibility for their own health, safety and wellbeing.

Employers are under a legal duty to assess the risk of workplace stress for their workers and to take appropriate action to ensure their wellbeing. In addition to meeting the duty of care, employers should be concerned with the wider implications of work-related stress.

Stress can significantly impact a business and its workforce, affecting absence, performance and personnel retention rates, it can negatively affect the reputation of a business and employer brand. As such, there is clearly a business case for the effective management of employees’ health and wellbeing and tackling stress in the workplace.

Two women laughing and talking whilst drinking coffee

What is the role of HR in supporting mental health at work?

HR can play an important role in supporting mental health at work.  Policy development and training interventions, although key should only be one part of an organisations’ wellbeing strategy.   It is imperative that any wellbeing initiatives or positive cultural elements are supported and led by all of the Senior team.

Healthy workplaces help people to flourish and reach their potential and supporting an environment where open communication is fostered and encouraged, is key.  A psychologically healthy and safe workplace actively promotes emotional well-being.

It’s also important for HR professionals to have their own ‘healthy habits’ such as taking annual leave, not working excessive hours, communicating in an open manner and joining any wellbeing initiatives, to demonstrate the organisation’s commitment

Where to start

Contact our team for a no obligation chat so we can understand your current situation and we’ll be able to advise you on your best next steps to supporting mental health at work.

Or learn more about our services here.

  1. Lelliott, P., Tulloch, S., Boardman, J., Harvey, S., & Henderson, H. (2008). Mental health and work. Retrieved from
  2. Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health. (2009). Briefing 40: Removing Barriers. The facts about mental health and employment. Retrieved from