How a Mentally Healthy Workforce Benefits Your Business

mentally-healthy-officeThere’s no doubt a happy workplace is more productive and a better place to be. A workplace who fosters a positive culture of mental health can see a variety of benefits over workplaces who sweep mental health under the rug.

To the businesses who are sweeping the mental health of their staff under the rug: it’s costing you money. As business managers, this is something you can address within a few months.

Businesses who proactively create a mentally healthy workplace can expect a return of $2.30 for every dollar spent.

If that ROI isn’t enough to pique your interest, read on for a few more benefits of creating a positive workplace for mental health.

Your business saves money

This is an incredibly tangible result of dedicating time and resources to creating a positive environment for mental health. Whilst the initial investment of time and resources may seem unnecessary for some businesses, the reward is far more valuable.

Around 45 per cent of Australians between the ages of 16 and 85 experience a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime. And in a given 12-month period, 20 per cent of Australians will have experienced a mental health condition.

This is a significant portion of the Australian population. The impact of ignoring mental health is costly – with absence and long-term work incapacity brought about by mental illness costs Australian businesses $10.9 billion annually. This comprises $4.7 billion in absenteeism, $6.1 billion in presenteeism and $146 million in compensation claims. Implementing a program to improve mental health in the workplace can significantly reduce the level of compensation claims for mental health and also reduces the isolation felt by those employees who do have a mental health condition.

Investing in any (or a few) of the following items can generate more positive mental health in the workplace:

  • worksite physical activity programs
  • coaching and mentoring programs
  • mental health first aid and education
  • resilience training
  • CBT based return-to-work programs
  • well-being checks or health screenings
  • encouraging employee involvement.

Reducing the cost to your business is an incredibly easy way to justify implementing these items in your workplace. The benefits are also much more widespread than just reducing costs.

Your business will see increased productivity levels

A happier workplace is a more productive workplace. When staff feel safe, respected and have higher levels of overall wellbeing, they are far more likely to be productive. Happy staff are also more likely to take initiative, come up with new ideas and be a more valuable member of the team overall.

Productivity can also be measured differently. For example, a day of sick leave equals 0 hours productivity, however, an employee who comes to work but is preoccupied with their poor mental health (presenteeism) could equal only 4-5 hrs of productivity out of a total of 8 working hours. This is an often unanticipated cost and hinders workplace productivity.

In one year, mental health conditions impact all Australian organisations by almost 1.1 million days of absenteeism and 1.5 million days of presenteeism – all of this impacting how much work a business is getting done. Becoming more productive is not as simple as telling staff they need to get more done – improving the mental state of the workplace can have a dramatic impact.

Key actions to create a mentally healthy workplace include:

  • creating a positive working environment
  • building individual skills and resilience, and/or
  • supporting staff with mental health conditions

These activities will improve the level of productivity in the workplace, improve the quality of work and increase the number of hours worked in the business.

Your business gets a better reputation when implementing a mental health initiative

It’s common to forget your business develops a reputation, no matter the size. From an intimate team to a multi-national franchise, reputation is critical. Businesses who are known for treating their staff poorly, or providing inadequate support to staff are more likely to suffer a poor reputation in the eyes of their stakeholders and community.

Implementing a program to improve and maintain positive mental health in the workplace can help improve staff morale, leading to a decrease in staff turnover and an increase in morale. Staff who are proud of the organisation they work for are less likely to leave and are more likely to become advocates for the organisation.

Your staff are also more likely to refer potential business relationships or team members if they feel more positively about the business they’re working for.

If your management team would like to discuss other ways to create a more productive and efficient workplace, get in touch with BusinessBasics today.

BusinessBasics offer management consulting to businesses across Australia, including Newcastle, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.