Bosses should offer free YOGA to protect staff mental health, guidelines suggest 


Bosses should chat to staff and offer free YOGA classes to protect their mental health, guidelines suggest

  • Health chiefs want companies to train managers to spot signs of worker stress
  • Public Health England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence say action is needed to reduce the stigma of mental health at work
  • Their draft document has suggestions including offering flexible working hours 
  • A 2020 Deloitte study estimated that poor mental health among staff costs UK firms up to £45billion a year










Bosses should engage staff in small talk and offer them free yoga or meditation classes to protect their mental health at work, suggest official guidelines.

Health chiefs want companies of all sizes and in all industries to train managers so they are able to spot signs of stress and help affected workers.

This could involve offering them flexible hours or less challenging tasks, Public Health England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence suggest.

Their draft document, which is subject to consultation, says action is needed to reduce the stigma of mental health.

It makes a number of recommendations that are intended to help firms ‘create the right conditions’ to support mental wellbeing in the workplace.

This includes encouraging managers to ‘foster good relationships’ with employees, ‘for example by socialising with them or making ‘small talk’.’ 

Another says all employees should be offered mindfulness, yoga or meditation, which can be delivered in a group or online. And a third recommendation calls for all line managers to be given ‘mental health training’, so they can spot signs in their staff and can discuss their concerns sensitively.

The guideline committee included mental health experts, employers, professionals from across the NHS and local authorities, and lay members.

Their report says: ‘The committee recognised the importance of good relationships between managers and employees, and of employees being able to approach managers to discuss any concerns.’

The report comes after a 2020 study by Deloitte, estimated that poor mental health among staff costs UK firms up to £45billion a year.

Dr Paul Chrisp, director of NICE’s centre for guidelines, said: ‘Providing managers with skills to discuss mental wellbeing improves the relationship between manager and employee so that they can identify and reduce work stressors.’

The report comes after a 2020 study by Deloitte, estimated that poor mental health among staff costs UK firms up to £45billion a year [Stock image]

The report comes after a 2020 study by Deloitte, estimated that poor mental health among staff costs UK firms up to £45billion a year [Stock image]

Emma Mamo, head of workplace wellbeing at the charity Mind, said some people’s mental health worsened during the pandemic, with redundancy, furlough, and juggling work and childcare all factors. 

She added: ‘Investing in staff wellbeing has never been more important and benefits the entire workforce. 

‘Training alone is not enough to protect and promote the wellbeing of staff – it should be part of a wider comprehensive package of support for staff. 

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‘Lots of employers – particularly smaller ones – feel they do not have resources to invest in staff wellbeing, but interventions need not be large or expensive. 

‘Above all, we want to see all employers proactively creating a culture where staff of all levels can talk about their mental health and know that if they do, they’ll be met with support and understanding, rather than experiencing stigma and discrimination.’

The Confederation of British Industry said: ‘Supporting the wellbeing and mental health of staff has been on the agenda for many business for some time now and the global pandemic has accelerated this journey.

‘Of course, businesses can always do more but providing managers with the knowledge and skillset required to support their teams can only be beneficial in the long run.’



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