Understanding the true impact of mental health issues on businesses
How are mental health issues manifesting in the workplace?
Understanding the ways in which mental health issues exhibit themselves in the workplace is essential for any organisation striving for a productive workforce.
Beyond absenteeism and healthcare costs, indirect costs like overtime and substitute arrangements strain employees. A phenomenon called presenteeism, where employees are physically present but unproductive due to health issues, is a major concern, costing around 1.5 times more than absenteeism.
Key personnel absences pose significant business risks. Certain specialists, managers, CEOs, or other essential personnel in responsible roles may have a significant number of skills and knowledge that maintain important customer relationships or production processes.
The loss of these critical personnel to a long period of sick leave or to a competitor, could cause severe setbacks to the business.
Have you identified the key personnel in your organisation?
Would you be surprised to know that occupational safety risks are also linked to mental health issues? Mental health issues increase accident and error risks, as conditions like depression and anxiety diminish focus and increase risk-taking behaviour. Workplace stress impairs performance, decision-making, concentration and working memory, while sleep disturbances elevate errors and risks.
How can your organisation support your employees’ well-being?
To foster a thriving and productive workforce, organisations must take a holistic approach to support mental well-being.
Prevention is the first line of defence and is about identifying and managing stress factors, promoting psychological safety, and strengthening resilience among your employees. Offer mental health training to equip your teams and leaders with the knowledge to recognise signs of distress and create a culture where mental well-being is paramount.
Early intervention and support from managers is vital. Develop mechanisms for employees to report concerns, assess working ability, and provide accessible mental health resources before issues get worse. Customise job roles to match your employees’ capabilities, ensuring they can manage their well-being while contributing effectively.
Treatment and the return to work are part of the journey. Make treatment options readily available and support the return-to-work process to facilitate a smooth transition and prevent further development of mental health issues.
Development of mental health resources includes tracking relevant metrics and learning from past experiences, as you would in cases of occupational safety incidents. Continuously improve your approach to mental health support.