According to a recent study one in three people in every Australian workplace is experiencing some sort of mental health challenge. These challenges can range from worry, sleep problems and fatigue that affect their work performance, to debilitating anxiety or depression. Why is this a workplace problem? Well, it costs Aussie business between $11-$12 BILLION dollars every year through staff taking sick leave, reduced productivity, higher staff turnover and compensation claims.
A Health at Work Report found that 91% of managers acknowledged that they have a responsibility to help with their employees’ mental health, but less than 25% have had any sort of mental health training. It’s clear that there is opportunity for workplaces and employers to do more to support their leaders in being able to handle mental health challenges, however, there are many other initiatives that can be easily implemented to improve the overall wellness of a workplace:
- Flexible working times that allow for a better work/life balance
- Better monitoring of workloads to manage stress on employees
- On-site counselling and support
- Provide and encourage opportunities for physical activity (eg, discounted gym membership, free yoga classes etc.)
- Increase awareness of mental health in the workplace by having open conversations and participating in events such as R U Ok Day and Mental Health Awareness Week
Implementing one or more of these initiatives will lead to a mentally healthy workplace and invaluable benefits like enhanced staff productivity and performance, reduced staff turnover and attracting and retaining great talent.
Research has shown that for every $1 spent to improve wellbeing in the workplace a return of up to $4 can be achieved through improved productivity and savings from workers compensation claims.
Given these numbers it makes sense to implement a wellbeing program and address mental health in your workplace.