3. Mental and physical health
Employers should pay attention to the mental and physical health of their employees. Everyone should be encouraged to look after their health – for example, by getting support and doing regular exercise.
Employers should not make assumptions. They should speak with their staff and agree on what support may be needed – for example, if an employee with a disability needs reasonable adjustments.
Mental and physical health issues can be considered disabilities under the law (Equality Act 2010). Employers must make reasonable adjustments for employees who are disabled.
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Employers should think about how to support their employees' mental health and wellbeing. They should talk to them about any problems they might be having.
Find out more about supporting mental health at work
Stress from changes at work
Employees can find change stressful – including changes in working from home and hybrid working.
Employers can help to reduce stress by helping an employee:
- agree regular contact
- avoid feeling left out and lonely
- feel trusted and supported
- know how to get help with their mental health
- know how to report IT issues
- know what is expected of them – for example, when working from home
Employers should make sure their employees have the necessary equipment and information to work safely. Employees might experience pain if they do not have the right working equipment – for example, they might have back problems caused by an unsuitable chair and desk.
Employers must protect staff from any health risks from using 'display screen equipment' (for example, computers, laptops or smartphones).
Find out about working safely with display screen equipment from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
When staff are working from home, they can struggle with:
- finding it harder to switch off from work
- working longer hours
Employers must follow the law on working hours. Employees have a right to rest breaks and should make sure they take them.
Employees might find it helpful to:
- have clear start and finish times
- switch off their work equipment at the end of the working day
- take regular rest breaks away from a screen
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Employees who work from home can feel pressure to work while ill (this is sometimes called 'presenteeism'). Employers should encourage them to take sick leave when they're ill.
Employees should make sure they:
- know what sick pay and leave they're entitled to
- take sick leave if they're not well enough to work
Find out more about sick pay
Advice from the NHS
The NHS offers advice, tips and tools to help you make the best choices about your health and wellbeing.
Visit the NHS Live Well website