The Truth About Psychological Wellness and It’s Impact on the Workplace and Your Bottom Line

Here is a fact that we often don’t think about but should: Every individual has both mental health and physical health. And while many people are willing to talk about their physical health openly, the same cannot be said about psychological wellness. Sadly, there is a stigma associated with mental health that causes people to deny it as a possibility or reality in their life.  However, because of the impact that it has on every aspect of life, including the workplace, it must be discussed.

psychologicial wellness and the workplace

Here are a couple of other facts that you should know:

Fact 1: Most people spend more than 50 percent of their waking hours at work.

Fact 2: According to a UK study of over 20,000 employees, 77 percent have experienced symptoms of poor mental health at some point in their lives.

These problems are not something that can just be turned off when someone walks through the door to start their workday. Therefore, companies need to take a proactive stance on supporting employees well-being, both physically and mentally.

psychological wellness and the workplace

Because not only does it impact workplace safety, it strongly impacts a company’s bottom-line. As an example, research shows that Financial Times Stock Exchange (FTSE) 100 companies that prioritize employee well-being outperform other FTSE 100 companies by 10%.

The Effect Health-Related Issues Has on the Workplace

A 2011 study estimates that health-related work losses are estimated to cost US employers more than $260 billion each year. Two of the costlier effects are a loss of productivity and absenteeism.

Interestingly, another study by the Employer’s Health Coalition found that lost productivity from presenteeism was at least 7.5 times greater than productivity loss from absenteeism. Using this estimate, Canadian businesses could lose 15 to 25 billion dollars per year from the loss of productivity of employees who show up for work but are ineffective due to physical or emotional issues that distract them.

Another major impact health-related issues have in the workplace is in the area of safety. An employee survey conducted in 2012 by Frone revealed that 12.65 percent of participants had exposure to a co-worker who used or was impaired by an illicit drug during the workday. These impairments, along with increased distraction, can lead to increased workplace accidents.

psychological wellness and the workplace

 

The Role Companies Need to Play in Employee Psychological Wellness

More and more companies are discovering the benefits of offering a ‘well-being’ aspect to their health and safety programs. Doing so can prove to have a major impact on a company’s safety, culture, overall performance and bottom line.

However, learning to deal effectively with mental health issues in the workplace starts at the top. And it starts with support from the highest level of management and then trickles down to each level, ensuring that those in the position of managing employees are fully trained to deal with issues as they arise.

Here are some interesting facts and figures we pulled from an article published by Workplace Strategies for Mental Health:

  • 4 in 5 managers/supervisors believe it is part of their job to intervene with an employee who is showing signs of depression.
  • Only 1 in 3 managers/supervisors reported having the training to intervene with employees who are showing signs of depression, but 55% of managers/supervisors reported having intervened.
    managers role in workplace psychological wellness
  • 65% of managers/supervisors say they could do their job more effectively if they found ways to more easily manage distressed employees.
  • 63% of managers/supervisors would like to receive better training to deal with this type of situation, and 43% would like to receive more support from senior management and Human Resources.

For companies to truly succeed, they need to invest in their employee’s well-being. For many, this may just involve making a mind-shift and thinking of mental well-being the way they do physical well-being and being as supportive as they would to someone with a broken arm.

One thing is for certain, however: this is not an issue that is ever going to go away. So, if you are a company that wants to improve your overall efficiency, safety and bottom-line, start today to build a program that improves your employee’s psychological wellness.

As the President and Founder of Sleepwell Consulting Inc. Amanda is a Sleep Educator who works with companies of all sizes to help promote better sleep and better business.