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Depression, anxiety, and stress triggers are all far too common in the workplace.
One of the best ways to manage good mental health is by using a wellness action plan (WAP). It's a practical and proactive way to protect your staff's wellness during work.
However, if you neglect their health, you could end up losing staff, facing compensation penalties, and suffering reputational damages.
In this guide, we'll look at what wellness action plans are, why they're important, and how to create one for your workplace.
A wellness action plan (WAP) is an evidence-based system which helps you manage mental health. It's also used to support recovery, as well as improve wellbeing.
A WAP tool can be used to promote workplace communication, performance, and relations. Ideally, they should be accessible for all employees, not just someone with ongoing problems.
Employees will complete their own plan, which is then shared with line managers or HR representatives. They write about how they feel during work–and any effects on their mental health.
It's important to note, anything added to WAPs cannot be held against employees. Nor is the document legally binding.
Every manager has a legal duty of care when it comes to their team's wellbeing. But this doesn't just cover protecting them from physical harm or injuries. It also includes their mental health, too.
Some employees may find it difficult, even impossible, to have open discussions about mental health with their managers. They might fear being labelled or stereotyped because of their condition. Or think it’ll affect their chance for development opportunities, like training or promotions.
A WAP tool allows you to help identify, prevent, and support good wellbeing. You'll be able to maintain positive mental health–leading to increased productivity, job satisfaction, and better performance.
In the UK, there isn't a specific law which outlines mental health or wellbeing. And there is no legal obligation to have wellness action plans in place. However, there are relevant legislations which you need to consider when it comes to such conditions.
The Equality Act 2010 states, employers have a legal duty of care when it comes to protecting mental health at work.
If an employee mentions their condition, you need to ensure they’re treated fairly regardless. You have a legal responsibility to protect them from unlawful mental health discrimination.
Under the same act, mental health can also class a disability–if the right requirements are met. Disability is one of nine protected characteristics which you legally cannot discriminate against.
To categorise a mental health condition as a disability, it needs to:
Here, an employee is legally entitled to reasonable adjustments at work. These changes provide the right support–allowing them to work in the healthiest conditions.
If you neglect these rights, they could raise a disability discrimination claim. These claims often result in attending tribunal hearings, paying compensation penalties, and facing reputational damages.
Every WAP tool should include details, questions, and support for mental health at work. Your wellness action plan should encourage employees think about:
It also makes sense for an organisation to use a WAP template or tool if they have an 'untraditional' workforce. For example, if you support remote, shift, or location-independent workers.
Every manager must follow a practical and proactive way when it comes to mental health at work. When you support an employee this way, you can encourage them through work, and even recovery.
However, if you fail to protect them, you could end up losing staff–as well as their respect, loyalty, and service.
Health Assured offers expert guidance on wellness action plan (WAP). Our teams provide mental health treatment and counselling services.
We provide a 24/7 helpline that’s open 365 days a year–helping every manager and their organisation all year round. Arrange a call back for more advice on 0844 891 0352.
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