How Important Is Mental Health At The Workplace?
“We at the CBI are convinced that the mental health of a company’s employees can have an important impact on business performance in the same way as do industrial relations climate or inadequate training. That is why the CBI continues to add its voice to the campaign to raise the profile of mental health as a workplace issue.”
– Howard Davies, Director General, Confederation of British Industry
An individual’s well being is a direct factor of their productivity. While businesses are beginning to understand this and taking active participation in their employees’ health, mental health is often forgotten in the process. Mental disorders are five of the ten leading causes of disabilities in the world. Companies incur immeasurable loss in the form of time, money and resources that can be avoided if adequate investments are made in employee mental health. A study conducted by PwC demonstrated that for every dollar invested in creating a mentally healthy workplace, the average return is $2.30 in the form of improved productivity and profitability.
There are several easily identifiable signs of poor workplace mental health such as increased absenteeism of employees, poor health, decrease in productive output in spite of long hours, an increase in error rates, loss of commitment and increasing disciplinary problems. For a person suffering from a mental disability, work stress, a feeling of dissatisfaction, inadequacy and insecurity can be overwhelming and damaging.
The workplace can be an excellent starting point for raising awareness about mental health issues and reducing social stigma around the topic. Establishing clear policies and investing in resources adequately is important. Both, big and small enterprises can offer early detection programs to employees, and help them seek effective help locally for treatment and rehabilitation.
Training managers to identify those under their supervision who need help, and addressing their concerns appropriately is a cost effective approach to creating a good mental health environment. It is important to listen to the concerns of employees and involve them in the process of creating these processes. In bigger companies, this is usually an important part of human resource management, and smaller companies can recreate this model with the help of executives who handle these responsibilities. Active measures must be taken to monitor employee stress and workload, any form of bullying and harassment, and protocols to address these grievances must be in place.
For an employee struggling with existing mental disabilities, the sense of purpose, responsibility, structure and social contact that comes with being a contributing member of an organisation can have immense positive effects. However, as with any person with disabilities, additional support is always necessary. Flexible policies allowing modified work hours during relapse and rehabilitation, support from managers and those higher up in the organisation’s hierarchy and enabling a gradual return to work with supportive sick pay policies can alleviate a lot of anxiety. While it may seem counter-intuitive to saving costs, the fact is that retaining old and experienced employees is far more cost effective than hiring and training new talent. Providing counselling and access to mental health professionals on-site can reduce the time spent away from work.
Mental health disorders cause serious disabilities, and have implications on productivity. Fortunately, there are effective treatments that lead to positive effects in the long term.
If you are an employer seeking to create a good mental health environment at your workplace, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to know more about how we can help.