Bosses should engage staff in small talk and offer them free yoga or meditation classes to protect their mental health at work, suggest official guidelines.
Health chiefs want companies of all sizes and in all industries to train managers so they are able to spot signs of stress and help affected workers.
This could involve offering them flexible hours or less challenging tasks, Public Health England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence suggest.
Their draft document, which is subject to consultation, says action is needed to reduce the stigma of mental health.
It makes a number of recommendations that are intended to help firms 'create the right conditions' to support mental wellbeing in the workplace.
This includes encouraging managers to 'foster good relationships' with employees, 'for example by socialising with them or making 'small talk'.'
Bosses should engage staff in small talk and offer them free yoga or meditation classes to protect their mental health at work, suggest official guidelines [Stock image]
Another says all employees should be offered mindfulness, yoga or meditation, which can be delivered in a group or online. And a third recommendation calls for all line managers to be given 'mental health training', so they can spot signs in their staff and can discuss their concerns sensitively.
The guideline committee included mental health experts, employers, professionals from across the NHS and local authorities, and lay members.
Their report says: 'The committee recognised the importance of good relationships between managers and employees, and of employees being able to approach managers to discuss any concerns.'
The report comes after a 2020 study by Deloitte, estimated that poor mental health among staff costs UK firms up to £45billion a year.
Dr Paul Chrisp, director of NICE's centre for guidelines, said: 'Providing managers with skills to discuss mental wellbeing improves the relationship between manager and employee so that they can identify and reduce work stressors.'
The report comes after a 2020 study by Deloitte, estimated that poor mental health among staff costs UK firms up to £45billion a year [Stock image]