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The 3 signs your business needs a modern wellbeing culture

February 9, 2023

In the wake of Covid and concerns around the great resignation, there is a renewed focus on ensuring that businesses take care of their greatest assets — their people.

With flexible and remote working now commonplace, and cold-like symptoms treated more warily than ever, this renewed focus has understandably generated a number of questions for those in leadership or HR positions: What does a ‘healthy office’ look like now? How can an organisation better support employees’ physical and mental wellbeing in a post-Covid world?

A 2022 study by Deloitte found that 28% of employees surveyed were considering leaving or had already left their jobs. 61% of those were due to poor mental health. As well as the human cost, this crisis made a financial impact on businesses of up to £56bn in 2020-21.

At Isle Listen, we work with companies of all shapes and sizes across the Island to help them build a greater understanding of mental health, but also to create, implement, and maintain effective workplace wellbeing cultures.

The costs of not addressing the issues of employee health and wellbeing couldn’t be more alarming. Here are the three signs it might be time to think about how your business supports its people.


Whether it’s down to illness, poor mental health, low employee engagement or burnout, ongoing patterns of absence can be costly for a business, and can lead to lower morale and higher employee turnover.

Establishing a clear sick leave policy and process for understanding absence can be a firm foundation for tackling the problem. This can also be a prime opportunity to look at the culture of your organisation to ensure staff aren’t under excess stress and are being appropriately supported. This could include wellbeing initiatives, making reasonable adjustments or looking at flexible and hybrid working.


Through sniffles and sneezes, they always power through. Our wider culture might once have venerated those who demonstrate the resolve to work while unwell — but it’s another red flag that something needs to change.

Presenteeism often leads to a greater loss in productivity than would be caused by sickness absence as it contributes to longer recovery time. It can also lead to costly mistakes, infections spread through the office, and has been linked to higher levels of stress-related absence in the longer term.

It can be mitigated in a similar way to absenteeism by changing the culture in your organisation, encouraging people to recover at home and fostering self accountability – looking after their own health and going to the GP if needed. This can be backed up by clear sick leave policies, including how colleagues are supported on their return to work. Training managers to recognise the symptoms, particularly of mental health issues, also allows them to detect those who might be


In many ways, it’s the grey area of staff absence: when an employee takes time off sick when they are not unwell or exaggerates symptoms to take time off when they don’t need to.

There’s no denying it can be tough to manage. When a case of malingering is suspected, this can create additional costs with time spent investigating and resolving the issue. But organisations need to be careful, as wrongly accusing a staff member of malingering can impact working relationships and may even lead to claims of unfair dismissal.

Avoiding cases of malingering, again, comes back to your absence and misconduct policies and an open workplace culture — with employees aware of the support that is available for them. A positive and understanding culture also avoids accusations of malingering for those needing time for a mental health issue, giving them the space and freedom to make an active recovery.

Here at Isle Listen, we’ve made it our mission to give employers and employees the tools they need to implement and maintain an effective workplace wellbeing culture, including CPD-accredited mental health first aid training courses, wellbeing audits measuring your wellbeing culture and an Employee Counselling Service to support your employees with issues that might be affecting their performance. And by using our employer solutions, you are helping our charity continue supporting the mental health of young people on our Island, free of charge.

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