Experienced awards judge celebrates Kent employer’s increased emphasis on staff mental health and wellbeing

27th June 2019

Andrew Masters, judge of the Employer of the Year category at the Kent Excellence in Business Awards (KEiBA) for the last three years, has praised the strides made by employers in Kent to address mental health and wellbeing issues among their staff.

Partner and Head of Employment at law firm Furley Page, Andrew said: “Despite reports that poor mental health at work has affected nearly half of the workforce at some time in their career*, mental health has continued to be a taboo subject in the workplace for far too long.

“It is incredibly encouraging to see that employers in Kent are taking steps to address staff wellbeing and issues surrounding poor mental health. In my capacity as a KEiBA judge, I had the opportunity to meet many excellent employers in Kent that are doing great work around mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, and the bar is definitely being raised year on year.

“My co-judge, Deborah Geering, a Senior Associate with Furley Page’s Dispute Resolution Team, and I saw a host of innovative schemes, from employers offering unlimited holiday to address the work-life balance of their staff, to peer mentoring and staff support clinics to provide help and advice in the workplace.

“It was striking to see that, far from being a drain on the business and its resources, a proactive approach to fostering improved mental health and wellbeing was making a real and tangible difference to the performance of the business, from increased productivity to reduced rates of sickness and absence.

“Employers large and small, working across a wide and varied range of sectors, are stepping up to the plate to raise awareness and destigmatise the taboo of mental health. Even small changes to policy, approach and workplace culture can make a significant difference to the mental health of those around us.

“Furley Page is also playing its part, having recently introduced mental health first aiders at our Canterbury, Whitstable and Chatham offices to listen to, support and advise staff when they feel that work or personal pressures are affecting their mental health. I recently underwent the training and it has been very helpful in understanding and spotting some of the early signs of poor mental health. I would thoroughly recommend the training to other employers.”

Furley Page has one of the most highly experienced employment law teams in the region. The team’s expertise is recognised by independent national legal guide Chambers UK, while Andrew is personally ranked in the highest band for employment lawyers in the South of England.

For advice on employment law and related HR issues, contact Andrew Masters on 01227763939.

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According to research carried out by Mind*

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