At least one in five adults experiences mental illness each year. However, only one in three of those who need help actually gets it. As a result, the affected employees might end up missing work or be less productive in the office.
Presenteeism is a condition where people go to work, yet they’re struggling mentally or physically, so they end up completing their roles badly. Focusing on your employees’ mental health is crucial because it has a significant impact on your bottom line.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), conditions like anxiety and depression lead to lost productivity, causing the global economy to lose nearly $1 trillion per annum. Each $1 spent on handling mental health concerns translates to $4 of improved productivity and health. As a result, employers support their employees’ mental health because there are several benefits to doing so.
Potential Benefits of Supporting Mental Health
Reduced Health Care Cost: Adults with severe mental illness have a higher risk of getting metabolic and cardiovascular diseases than those without. Employers that don’t support mental health incur more costs than those investing in it.
Improved Productivity: Employees who receive treatment for depression perform very well at the workplace. It also reduces absenteeism and low productivity.
Increased Retention: Mental health is part of the reasons why employees leave their job. Supporting mental health enhances not only emotional and mental health benefits but also retention.
How to Support Employee Wellness
Employees are more interested in training and information about where they can get mental health support when they need it. Other ways that organizations can support their employees’ mental health are by:
Employers can support their workers’ mental health by establishing flexible schedules as much as possible. They can give their workers access or encourage them to use apps that monitor their sleep and stress levels in order to help them seek help as early as possible.
Limiting the number of vacation employees rollover can encourage them to use this time to relax. Companies can offer yoga classes, mindfulness training, and mediation rooms at work. Employees returning from leave due to mental health issues should feel supported when they return to the office.
Most companies created opportunities for their employees during the global health pandemic. The virtual events, electronics message boards, and affinity groups helped them build connections. The same opportunities should continue post-Covid-19 pandemic.
Training Managers How Mental Health Affects Their Employees
Supervisors and managers should be trained in recognizing stressed employees to offer them the needed support rather than punish them. They should know how to detect signs of emotional distress, take proactive steps to understand their subordinates, such as asking them how they’re doing, recommending a break, or asking them to take a walk.
Organizations will achieve more when they make mental health training mandatory. The training will help company leaders see signs of substance abuse or emotional distress. They will learn how to run surveys to measure employees’ stress levels and how it’s affecting their productivity.
Developing Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
The best way of supporting your employees’ mental health is by establishing an employee assistance program. At first, workers might reluctantly use this resource because of fear of shame, stigma, etc. They may also question the confidentiality of this program.
The company can increase EAP usage by sending monthly mental health newsletters detailing how the program assists people rather than posting notices in break rooms. The information reminds employees of the benefits of using the program, the available and paid-for services, and how to access them.
It should provide details such as direct access to mental health professionals. The resource should be available to each employee and their immediate family member. EAP should be free of charge and should be accessed confidentially.
Reducing Stigma Linked to Mental Health through Communication
Promoting mental health benefits, such as through monthly newsletters, can increase acceptance and reduce stigma. Executives can constantly mention the importance of emotional wellbeing when recruiting talents.
Further, they should build an inclusive culture because it encourages employees to bring their best selves to the office. Financing workshops that educate their workers about emotional wellbeing and resilience is another crucial way of supporting mental health.
Everyone is vulnerable to stress and its negative impact, but employees are at higher risk because they have to balance family and office. However, strong relationships in the office and support from their employer can help reduce mental health issues.
Workplace mental health support makes work more fun, interesting and social. In fact, employees don’t work in isolation and feel supported in such an environment.