An employee’s mental health and wellness and their ability to perform successfully at work are directly correlated. If your employees are experiencing depression or anxiety, they may be distracted and unable to perform well. In fact, depression and anxiety are thought to cost the global economy $1 trillion annually in lost productivity, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
On the other hand, if employees are well taken care of and happy, they’re more productive and likely to come up with innovative ideas. Based on the same WHO article, they discovered that addressing common mental health issues results in a $4 return on investment in terms of better productivity and health. This is why as business leaders, it is crucial that we take care of our employees’ well-being, including physical and mental health.
Promoting mental health and wellness in the workplace are proven to bring the following benefits.
Improved productivity: According to a study, 86% of employees who receive treatment for depression say their work performance has improved. Additionally, it has been demonstrated in several studies that treating depression can decrease absenteeism by 40 to 60%.
Opportunity to improve retention: In a 2019 survey of more than 1,500 workers conducted across the US, more than one-third of participants claimed they had quit their jobs for reasons related to their mental health. Among them, 59% stated that mental health issues were the main cause. If mental health and wellness are to be addressed in the workplace, companies might see improved retention rates.
Reduced medical expenses and disability costs: Adults with major mental illness have twice the rates of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Higher employee morale: Mental health and wellness support from employers are proven to boost employee morale and positivity.
1) Recognize the impact of employees’ mental health
It’s important for managers to be taught to understand the indicators of emotional distress so they can react in a helpful rather than punishing approach.
It is recommended to make mental health education essential for company executives to increase their awareness of and commitment to this area of their employees’ wellbeing. Managers should receive training on how to spot emotional distress and even drug usage and what to do if they notice symptoms or early warning signs. Inform the staff as well that support is available.
2) Reduce stigma and promote access to mental health resources
Don’t wait until alarming stages to offer community services and benefits for mental health. Regularly promote them, for example, in monthly newsletters. Make sure that every time your executives bring up emotional wellbeing when they discuss hiring top talent and creating an inclusive workplace environment that encourages people to be their best selves. You can also consider providing workshops so that staff members can learn more about resilience and mental health. Providing access to apps that can be used to improve sleep and reduce stress can also help.
3) Implement programs that promote well-being
Try implementing programs that promote well-being such as introducing mindfulness training and yoga, or allocating a meditation area at work. The ability to work on flexible schedules can also help reduce stress and provide a sense of freedom for your employees.
Then, encourage your employees to take their time off. Some businesses achieve this by limiting the number of vacation days that employees can carry over to the next year. If an employee needs to take a leave of absence due to a mental health illness, the employer should make adjustments and establish a return-to-work procedure so that the employee feels supported upon returning.
4) Provide free screening resources
The majority of mental health conditions go untreated because workers fail to notice the warning signs and symptoms. They can try to convince themselves their troubles will go away on their own, or they might try to justify their problems as “stress.”
Mental Health American offers free screening tools that help employees evaluate their risk factors. Employees are more likely to seek therapy if they are aware that they are at risk for specific conditions, such as depression or anxiety.
Learn more about workplace concerns that may impact your organization
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