What to do with the costs of mental health at work

Many business leaders assume an employee’s mental health is none of their business. But, an employee’s mental health greatly affects their performance—and by extension will affect the company’s bottom line.

The Costs

Absenteeism – The cost is incurred because employers pay for not having a person present to undertake work. Absenteeism can be due to many reasons and mental health could be one of those.

Presenteeism – It is when people are less productive in their role due to a mental health reasons which was not addressed by the management or leadership. The cost is the amount of time the person is assumed to be working but is less productive than normal.

Others – The cost of medication and the like services. Which is not usually covered by standard health benefits as it is mostly focus on physical health. Or worse, the cost of the loss of life.

Potential Solutions

Promote and establish Work/Life Blend programs – Praising employees for putting in long hours will hurt your company in the long-run. It’s important to encourage a healthy work/life blend. Encourage employees take vacations. Don’t expect everyone to answer email around the clock. Start with team outings without talking about work. Make it clear that you value everyone’s need to have a rich, full life outside the office.

Bombarding employees with this message over their emails is also not enough. Even if you insist that they take a quick jog outside or do yoga, or take vacations and yet make it difficult for them to do so will also make things worse. Overall wellness should be a priority. Offer incentives to participate. Create a wellness space.

Educate Employees about Mental Health – Have mental health awareness at your workplace. Offer free screening tools that can help them identify their risk factors and potential treatment needs. Provide employees with in-service trainings on various self-care topics. Hiring a therapist to provide half-day workshops a few times a year on stress reduction or meditation could boost employees’ resilience.

Make sure managers are aware of the signs of mental health problems and train them to respond appropriately. A caring and sharing conversation can be instrumental in encouraging an employee to seek help.

Reduce Stigma – By regularly addressing stress management, self-care, and mental health, you’ll help reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. When employees trust you won’t call them “crazy” or fire them for their struggles, they may be more willing to seek treatment. And that could be the key to boosting employee health and happiness.

Encourage a mental health leave. Refer them to appropriate mental health professionals, mental health consultations while creating a more robust employee assistance program. Show understanding and support an employee’s need to take on fewer projects while he adjusts to new medication. But make it clear to employees that they will not be penalized for taking care of their mental health.

The long-term investment in psychological health will create returns that outweigh the crippling loss of productivity in presenteeism and absenteeism. It will also help employees reach their greatest potential.

Prioritizing the mental and emotional wellbeing of employees will increase profit, improve lives, and transform culture.

I have been thinking a lot about Mental Health lately. The next episodes I recorded for my Podcast-on-the-go via Anchor is focused on anxiety and depression. (https://anchor.fm/vernonjosephgo)

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What to do with the costs of mental health at work What to do with the costs of mental health at work Reviewed by Vernon Joseph Go on Sunday, July 15, 2018 Rating: 5

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