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Workplace Wellbeing

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Good mental health sets the foundation for our overall sense of wellbeing; it is the lens through which we experience our lives and underpins our perceptions and our behaviours. Mental health can be a positive resource and is not just the absence of mental ill-health. As the HSE’s Mental Health Promotion Plan states, “There is no health without mental health.”

Stronger Together, The HSE Mental Health Promotion Plan 2022-2027

The key questions to answer when addressing mental health in the workplace are:

  1. How can we promote a better understanding of the importance of Mental Health?
  2. What organisational changes can be made to address job-related stress at the source?
  3. How can we increase personal resources to help employees manage their stress?

A supportive workplace environment is crucial for the mental health of your employees. Some of their stress could be rooted in their job.

It’s important to remember that the workplace plays an integral part in shaping an employee’s mental health. The workplace environment can be one that promotes and protects positive mental health leading to, for example, healthy relationships and higher self-esteem.

Conversely, however, the workplace environment has the power to contribute to the development of mental health difficulties. For this reason, it is important to intentionally shape your workplace culture to support and protect the mental health of your employees.

From a workplace perspective, there is of course a legal duty to protect the health of your employees and to abide by Employment Equality Acts. Organisations are required by legislation to ensure that all staff are treated equally and without discrimination, and this is an important baseline for mental health.

Being treated unfairly will be a significant driver of stress and compromised mental health. Building on this, there are many additional benefits to promoting and protecting the mental health of your employees as part of your wellbeing programme, including:

  • Thriving workers
  • Increase in productivity
  • Increase in engagement and job satisfaction
  • Increase in attraction of top talent
  • Increase in reputation in the public for being a responsible employer
  • Decrease in absenteeism
  • Decrease in turnover and recruitment and training costs
  • Decrease in work-related injuries and illnesses
  • Decrease in workers’ compensation claims

The World Health Organization states that “globally, an estimated 12 billion working days are lost every year due to depression and anxiety at a cost of US$1 trillion per year in lost productivity.” Furthermore, a survey by the Irish Business and Employers Confederation estimates “11 million days are lost through absenteeism every year at a cost of €1.5bn or €818 per employee.”

Here are some quick resources to get you started:

While these resources are helpful to get you started, it’s very important to carefully plan your workplace wellbeing activities. Research shows that all activities that target the individual employee, should be coupled with activities at the level of the organisation. In other words, you should always take measures to create a supportive organisational environment alongside lifestyle-focussed supports for your employees. We’ve included detailed advice on how best to plan your activities at both these levels.

Organisation-level Activities

The “bedrock” of the CIPD Well-being Pyramid is culture, leadership and people management. These are the best ways to ensure you’re creating a solid foundation to your workplace well-being efforts:

Individual-level Activities

Your wellbeing initiatives at the individual level will likely focus on raising awareness, building skills to manage this wellbeing area, and/or might be preventative in nature.


HSE Mental Health Promotion Plan

The overall aim of the Mental Health & Wellbeing Programme is to promote positive mental health and wellbeing across the population and among priority groups.  The content of this webpage relates to the work of the Mental Health & Wellbeing …

H-WORK Interventions Toolkit

This is a European project to develop and validate multi-level assessment and intervention toolkits, evaluating individual and organisational outcomes of the adopted measures. The aim is to effectively promote mental health, along with policy recommendations for employers, occupational health professionals …

The Mental Health at Work Programme

The Finnish Institute of Occupational Health developed toolkits for various mental health topics and targeted to various levels of decision-makers. These may be useful resources to your organisation.

Connecting for Life

Ireland’s National Strategy to Reduce Suicide aims to better understand suicidal behaviour and improve quality and access to integrated services while supporting communities to prevent and respond to suicidal behaviour.

Mercer Financial Wellness Solutions

Mercer has programmes to help organisations develop a financial wellness programme that focuses on engaging employees throughout their lives, with an emphasis on guiding them towards action.

Harmonics Financial Wellness Programmes

Harmonics Financial offers a range of financial wellness programmes designed to support and guide employees in every area of their finances while also promoting a culture of wellness and optimism.

NFP Ireland Consultancy

NFP helps organisations develop, implement and promote a financial wellbeing strategy that keeps their employees confident.