To say that mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is a matter of critical importance is to not just state the obvious; it is to understate. Nothing is more important in a workplace than the mental health and wellbeing of employees. The reason is simple and clear: only the mentally agile and the physically fit employee is capable of performing optimally. No factor is as important as the mental health and wellbeing of the employee in making the workplace an efficient and harmonious one.
Employees who are subpar in their mental health and wellbeing are a cause for concern for the organization. They show reduced levels of efficiency and creativity. They are far less productive than others. They are likely to become a lot more irritable and are usually disturbed and inconsistent in their relations with their colleagues and peers.
It also leads to a weakened workforce which could be far less efficient at doing work. It also impacts the organization’s reputation in the market as one which fails to provide basic mental and physical comforts to its employees.
Isn’t it imperative for an organization to correct these, both in their own interest and in the employees’? The only really proper way of doing this is to understand the importance of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace and implement steps and measures that bring this about.
Comes with a monumental economic cost
It also makes business sense to understand the importance of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace: not having mentally sound employees and those who suffer from wellbeing issues such as physical discomfort while working or being exposed to hazards at work costs companies billions upon billions of dollars in losses.
In the UK, around 70 million workdays were lost, leading to potential losses of some £ 70 to 100 billion on account of mental illness alone in 2013. Lack of the right mental health and wellbeing programs costs the Australian economy some 10-15 billion AUD a year.
In what other ways do lack or shortfall in the mental health and wellbeing in the workplace affect the organization?
- It suffers from obvious effects such as decreased efficiency brought about by absenteeism
- The organization could have to deal with workplace violence when it fails to understand the importance of mental health and wellbeing in the workplace
- The business bottom line is severely affected when employees are not provided the right fitness and wellness programs to participate in and feel good when working
- In the UK, more than half the organizations are hesitant to hire a person with mental issues
- Around a quarter of the Australian workforce takes off from work due to stress related factors