‘Mental health’ has become something of a buzzword in the past few years. However, it is not just a fad — more and more businesses are realizing the impact employee wellbeing has not only on their workforce but also their bottom line. If your business still hasn’t considered the mental health of your team, now really is the time to start doing so, especially as COVID-19 is exacerbating mental health problems. If you’re still not convinced, here are a few reasons why mental health awareness can spell success for your business.
Low productivity means that it takes employees longer to complete their jobs, which, of course, hurts your bottom line. However, this might not be their fault. One study has found that 86% of employees in ‘high performing workplaces’ say their workplace enables them to work productively, but only 15% say the same thing in ‘low performing workplaces’. Staff may not be able to operate at their best in an environment where management is unsupportive, for example, or in an office that isn’t fit-for-purpose. And they’ll certainly struggle to be productive in a role that is leading to stress and burnout.
By investing in your employees’ mental health, you can combat these underlying reasons for decreased productivity, fighting the root cause rather than the symptom. In fact, addressing mental health at work has been found to increase productivity by up to 12%. You could, for example, get your employees to attend stress management workshops. One such course provider, MTD, covers topics including how to understand and combat stress, and how to make decisions under pressure. You could also provide meditation or yoga classes, which are proven to reduce stress and anxiety, and simply encourage your employees to take breaks and confide in you when things bother them, so you can commit to making real changes based on their feedback.
Stress and burnout could also prompt employees to seek out new, more fulfilling opportunities. This is to be expected — if work is making them unhappy, they’ll want to change that. Ensuring that your employees are content and feel taken care of means they’ll be three times less likely to look for a new job.
There are two very good reasons to invest in mental health for the sake of employee retention. Of course, you don’t want to see your dedicated employees go. But there are also your profits to think about. Replacing an employee costs 33% of that worker’s salary, which is no small figure. On average, this works out to about $15,000 per person. So, investing in your employees’ mental health can save you money in the long term by avoiding high turnover.
Fewer sick days
The truth is, mental health is not entirely separate from our physical health, so employees may need to take time off for mental health issues as well as physical ones. For example, a recent survey from Aetna International revealed that 32% of workers took time off due to stress.
Feeling sad every once in a while is completely normal, but more persistent problems may come with stress and burnout, such as anxiety, inability to function, and feeling incompetent. This sometimes results in physical symptoms too, with a number of studies finding links between improved psychological wellbeing and a reduced risk of heart attacks and strokes, better sleep, and even better responses to chronic illnesses like cancer and heart disease. Paying attention to mental health issues at work means you’ll have happier and healthier employees, resulting in fewer sick days.
Better office culture
In the past few years, ‘employee engagement’ has been on everybody’s lips, which Forbes defines as ‘the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals’. Business benefits include a higher quality of work, increased customer satisfaction, and better profits. In fact, engaged organizations are doubly successful compared to their unengaged counterparts.
Achieving a good level of engagement requires work on your office culture, making your employees feel invested, and like they’re a part of the family. By investing in their mental health, you’re directly caring for their happiness, and they’ll notice and appreciate this. Happier employees also result in more sociable workers which will also make for a nicer work environment. It’s a win-win, at the end of the day.