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I am an international hybrid and a long-time journalist with a broad span of intellectual curiosity and a passion for ideas to help business work better, with basic human values to underpin the process.

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Mental Health Concerns In UK Workplaces Rise Amid Another Warning On Skills Shortage

Mental Health Concerns In UK Workplaces Rise Amid Another Warning On Skills Shortage

Is it yet another #Brexit effect even as the United Kingdom wrestles with how to implement Brexit? If so, how are businesses supposed to pay attention to a much-vaunted UK government focus on better corporate governance ?

Business leaders have seen a rise in the number of staff raising concerns around mental health in the last 14 months, a new survey by the UK's Institute of Directors reveals. Another one from the  CIPD, the professional body for HR  and people development, conducted jointly with the recruitment focused Adecco Group points to serious concerns that UK employers' demands for skills and labour may not be met by supply.

The joint findings add further pressure on all those in the workplace. These are the hidden costs of Brexit already apparent. Anyone regularly on social media will be aware of the mental health issues regularly flagged as lives are spent coping with a daily paralysis of political decision making and a declining UK economy. While the nation struggles with its collective identity, individuals struggle to survive amid what has been a tortuous period. Their human vulnerabilities will inevitably have an impact on their ability and desire to be engaged and productive at work.

The IOD's poll of 700 directors in the UK shows that four in ten have been approached by staff raising concerns around mental health in the last 14 months - coinciding with a time delay  after the June 2016 referendum vote on whether Britain should leave the European Union (EU).

A similar number (42%) report employees taking time off work in the UK due to mental health problems. That is a concern for any business, whether or not it has empathy for its workers.

Poor relationships with line management and workload have the biggest negative impact on employees’ mental health, closely followed by poor relationship with colleagues, said the IOD, referring to the data. Those in larger organisations were particularly likely to say the line manager relationship needed improvement, with more than half in companies with over 100 employees pointing to this factor, it noted.

But only one in five UK business leaders told the IOD  that they were able to offer mental health training for management.

"While mental health is no longer the taboo subject it was, much work remains to be done. Directors must take to heart the importance of their workforce's mental health, just as they would their physical health" said Stephen Martin, Director General of the IOD.

He made it clear that, in his view, the workplace shouldn't be a source of fear for anyone who thinks they might not jump through every hoop but dare not challenge the placing and size of the hoops themselves.

"We want businesses to see tackling mental health not as a drain on resources but as a positive investment in the well-being of their staff" said Mr Green. The CIPD/Adecco survey shows that while UK employers remain optimistic against the odds, "the number of vacancies in the UK economy  remain well above historic average levels."

Almost two-thirds (61%) of employers on this joint  survey said that at least some of their vacancies are proving hard to fill. If that is not a wake-up call in the midst of the current negotiations on Brexit, it is hard to believe if evidence can ever triumph over dogma.

Thank you for reading.

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