National Productivity Week 27th January 2025 | Visit Website

A diverse community of
leading experts, policymakers
and practitioners

The Institute’s key research themes
are led by ten academic partners
spread across the UK.

We’re a UK-wide research
organisation exploring what
productivity means for business

Businesses are crucial to solving
the UK’s productivity problems.


Mental health at work: a longitudinal exploration of line manager training provisions and impacts on productivity, individual and organisational outcomes

Mental ill-health accounts for over half of all work-related ill-health, 17 million working days lost, and costs around £53-56 million in absenteeism, presenteeism and turnover, not including non-productivity costs which amount to 5% of the UK GDP. Improving mental health at work could reap significant economic benefits, help to address the UK productivity problem, and contribute to addressing spatial inequalities.

However, our prior research shows that only 53% of firms train their managers in mental health at work, but research has not yet explored the impact of manager training on mental health outcomes or productivity. We will conduct secondary analysis of 4-wave longitudinal survey data collected from around 1,500 employers in the East and West Midlands.

This will ascertain which sectors and organisations adopt line manager training, whether/how line manager training is delivered, and whether organisations providing line manager training seeimprovements in individual and/or organisational outcomes. Longitudinal analysis will allow exploration of whether the provisions and impacts of line manager training have changed over time, within the context of a long-lasting global pandemic which has negatively impacted population mental health, changed ways of working and increased the need for organisations to provide mental health support.

In the short-term, recommendations from this study will directly influence investment decision making and business planning processes related to the provision of line manager training for mental health, within UK firms. In the long-term, improving firm level productivity has relevance for efforts to reverse the slowing productivity growth rates in the UK.

Lead researcher Professor Holly Blake, University of Nottingham