Mental health and your employees

While physical health and financial wellbeing remain important objectives for a business, the importance of maintaining mental health has become the strongest priority to all of us. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, this has raised the question of what the workplace’s role is in supporting positive mental health outcomes.

Whilst employee health has previously been ignored as a driver for organisational performance, growing research demonstrates the need for change. It is now imperative that the leaders of organisations invest in accessible mental health benefits and take a leading role in educating employees about the importance of mental health.

Reinforced by CEO of AccessEAP, Sally Kirkright states that companies “must take a stance against mental health”, highlighting the importance managers’ play in the support of their employees.

 

The Stats

1 in 5 Australians suffer from mental health issues and, unsurprisingly, the pandemic has only made things worse.

Recent medical research from The Black Dog Institute (BDI) found that 75% of employees have felt their mental wellbeing plummet during the COVID-19 chaos – with many left ‘feeling uncertain about the future’. 

 

Left untreated, mental ill health, stress and happiness cost Australian businesses between $11 and $12 billion a year through:

  • Staff being absent from work (sick days)
  • Reduced work performance and productivity (presenteeism – at work but not working well)
  • Increased staff turnover rates and associated recruitment and training costs
  • Compensation claims

However, these problems could be prevented by early intervention and support.

 

Initiatives you can take 

The following factors contribute to a mentally healthy workplace:

Job Design:

  • Demands of the job
  • Control in the work environment
  • Resources provided
  • The level of work engagement
  • Potential exposure to trauma (such as emergency workers)

Team factors:

  • Support from colleagues and managers
  • Quality of interpersonal relationships
  • Effective leadership
  • Availability of staff training

Organisation factors:

  • Changes to the organisation
  • Support from the business as a whole
  • Recognising and rewarding work
  • How justice is perceived in a workplace
  • Culture of safety and support

Home/work conflict:

  • Conflicting demands from home, including significant life events and how they impact our work

Individual factors:

  • Genetics, personality
  • Early life events
  • Cognitive and behavioural patterns
  • Mental health history
  • Lifestyle factors and coping style

Case Study – ‘Google’

To put this all into perspective, research from the study ‘Happiness and Productivity’ reported that leading company Google’s employee satisfaction rose 37% due to investment in employee support. And this goes to show, with the average Google employee generating more than a whopping $1.2 million in revenue each year!

Overall, implementing proactive measures to support employee wellbeing is not only good for the people in your company, but also those dealing or interacting with the business overall: stakeholders, customers and clients.

 

Have a question about Physical & Emotional Wellbeing? Get in touch to find out more on how we can help you and your people.

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