Around the world, mental health is a growing focus for many businesses, but are you taking it seriously? The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to adapt to how they operate their business, but it’s also highlighted other factors which need urgent attention, including mental health.
Mental health and looking after the mental health of employees was already a growing concern. Still, a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has highlighted increasing numbers of mental health associated reports coming in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The combination of working remotely, self-isolation, social distancing, and stress and anxiety at work are all leading to higher numbers of depression and anxiety among workers. As workers are forced to self-isolate and social distance, they are losing access to traditional support networks such as family, friends, and co-workers.
Even as businesses begin to reopen, a big focus needs to be put on the mental health and well-being of employees as they return to work. It could be the perfect opportunity for companies to examine their procedures for managing mental health in the workplace and put in place new measures to help employees make the transition back to work.
Mental health changes are needed, and they’re needed now!
A further report from Deloitte has highlighted the need for mental health changes, and they are pushing for the government to take a proactive approach to mental health legislation. They believe that for change to be embraced and enforced by employers, legislation needs to be drafted by governments around the world.
Not only changes to legislation around mental health, but also education and awareness of what mental health is, how it affects employees, and what employees’ rights are if they are struggling with mental health conditions.
Below are some of the definitions that all employers should know regarding mental health and well-being:
Mental Health – According to the WHO, a state of well-being in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and can contribute to his or her community.
Work-Related Stress – According to the WHO, work-related stress is the response people may have when presented with work demands and pressures that are not matched to their knowledge and abilities and which challenge their ability to cope.
Presenteeism – This is when an employee is at work while unwell and isn’t performing to the best of their abilities.
The ROI on positive mental health programs makes sense to employers
It’s not always easy to see your return on investment. Still, the Deloitte report has highlighted that there is definitely a positive case for employers to embrace and invest in the mental health of their employees. The average ROI was 5:1. That’s a $5 return for every $1 invested in mental health education, procedures, and education.
The ROI can range from 4:1 all the way up to 11:1 depending on what course your company takes. The largest ROI is seen when companies implement large-scale preventative initiatives across the entire workforce.
These ROI numbers are considered conservative because of several factors, including:
Many of the studies don’t account for the savings company's experience with reduced presenteeism numbers and reduced staff turnover.
A lot of studies don’t consider the overall increase in staff morale and increased productivity.
Since the studies were published, wages have increased, and technology has improved, which would make the return to cost ratio higher.
Investing in the mental health and well-being of your employee’s makes sense, both financially and as part of your duty of care to your employees
With studies pointing to ratios on ROI of between 4:1 and 11:1, it makes financial sense for employers to start focusing on the mental health and wellbeing of their employees. Several other factors can be seen when companies take a proactive approach to their employee’s mental health, such as better staff retention, increased productivity, better recruitment for new employees, reduced worker’s compensation claims, and lower insurance costs.
Is your company looking towards the future and embracing the positive change in mental health awareness or are falling behind?
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