What Is Workplace Behavioural Health?

Laura Morrison Employment

Behavioural Health is concerned with promoting well-being by education, preventing and intervention in behavioural health condition. These can range from mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, compulsive behaviours that may be used to cope with disorders and stress, through to working with those who may turn to substance abuse or other addictions to manage inner turmoil.

When we talk about Workplace Behavioural Health, we are concerned with a number of aspects:

1. How the workplace impacts behavioural health of the individual employee, through organisational and job design, working environment, and management styles and behaviours.

2. How the behaviour of the individual impacts on the organisation and the individual’s performance and contribution in role.

3. Finally, we are concerned with how attitudes and culture in the organisation can support or stifle positive workplace behavioural health – this is concerned with the inter-relationship between employees, their relationships and how behavioural health issues can contribute positively or negatively to the companies’ profitablility and performance.

Behavioural and Mental Health issues can result in lost productivity due to poor mental health costing business on average £30 Billion per annum.

Recent figures published by the Department of Health attribute the total cost of drug and alcohol misuse at £21 Billion per annum to society.

Workplace Behavioural Health covers, but is not limited to, the following conditions:

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    Stress

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    Anxiety

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    Depression

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    Substance Misuse

    This includes Drugs, Alcohol, Prescription and Non-Prescription Drugs and Substances

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    Compulsive Behaviour

    This can include Gambling, Financial, Eating Disorders and other issues

This may show up as an employee taking up unhealthy behaviours, not necessarily in work, but often outside of work, which affect workplace performance.

Some issues, such as mental health issues and addiction are covered by the Equality Act 2010 and require sensitive dealing, often with the help of trained professionals, not just within your organisation in HR, but in obtaining specialist legal expertise and enlisting the help of the right therapists to assess and restore the employee to health, with reasonable adjustments being made to accommodate the employee.

Failure by employers to meet obligations under the act can not only adversely impact the employee and their chances of recovery and rehabilitation, but can affect team morale, and potentially the company brand in the event that litigation arises, impacting the ability to attract and retain talent in the future and the company bottom line.

Whatever causes an incident concerning an employee’s behavioural health, one thing is always clear, something has to change in the environment to effect a positive result – whether the individual, the culture, or organisational design and policies.

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