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The Impact of Employee Mental Health on Workplaces
The following article provides more information on employee mental health and outlines several workplace well-being initiatives for employers to consider.

Home » People & Culture » The Impact of Employee Mental Health on Workplaces

The Impact of Employee Mental Health on Workplaces

The following article provides more information on employee mental health and outlines several workplace well-being initiatives for employers to consider.
Employee well-being refers to employees’ physical, mental, social, and financial health, which various workplace dynamics can often influence (e.g., workload, connections with co-workers, and available resources).

While employee well-being plays a crucial role in employee retention, it also significantly impacts business performance. As a result, organizations need to take employee well-being seriously and do what they can to foster a culture that promotes well-being.

 

 

The Important Role of Mental Health in Employee Well-being

Over the years, many organizations have attempted to promote employee well-being by offering workplace solutions aimed solely at maintaining physical health. These solutions may include serving nutritious meal options on-site, smoking cessation programs, or providing discounted memberships to local gyms.

While such solutions can certainly help employees make healthier lifestyle choices and reduce their risk of chronic illnesses, promoting employee well-being requires organizations to develop initiatives that address all aspects of workers’ overall health and happiness. Specifically, employees’ mental health must be considered.

Mental health consists of individuals’ emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how individuals communicate, form relationships, contribute to their communities, and cope with adversity. In times of distress, individuals may suffer from poor mental health. Emotions associated with poor mental health include grief, stress, sadness, or anxiousness.

It’s important to note that mental health differs from mental illness. In particular, emotions stemming from poor mental health are not diagnosable conditions but rather temporary feelings. On the other hand, mental illnesses pertain to various clinical mental health disorders (e.g., anxiety and depression). These disorders are chronic and affect how individuals think, behave, and function daily. Yet, individuals who experience prolonged periods of poor mental health may eventually develop mental illnesses.

In any case, mental health is a critical factor in determining employees’ well-being—one that organizations can’t afford to ignore. Recent research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that nearly three-quarters (71%) of U.S. adults experience at least one adverse symptom of stress (e.g., feeling overwhelmed or anxious) each year. Furthermore, mental health can make a difference in employees’ physical health. According to the CDC, poor mental health can increase individuals’ likelihood of developing chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Considering these findings, it’s clear that employers must account for employees’ mental health when addressing their overall well-being.

 

 

How Employee Mental Health Impacts the Workplace

Employees’ mental health and well-being can impact employers in various ways. Here are some key business objectives that may be influenced by overall workplace well-being:

  • Business performance—Employee well-being can make a difference in business performance. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), mental health concerns in the workplace can contribute to increased absenteeism rates, lost productivity, decreased customer satisfaction, and reduced profits. In addition, the NCBI reported that work-related stress is a leading cause of poor job performance among employees, negatively affecting employers as a whole.
  • Stakeholder perception—Apart from business performance, employee well-being can also impact stakeholder perception. According to a recent report from the Harvard Business Review, the vast majority (91%) of working adults believe that a company’s culture should support mental health. Employers who disregard their employees’ mental health and well-being are more likely to be perceived poorly by stakeholders, resulting in reduced workplace morale, reputational damages, and lost business. Such negative stakeholder perception could have lasting impacts on an employer’s brand, limiting its ability to attract top talent and remain profitable for the foreseeable future.

 

  • Workplace safety—If organizations encounter employee mental health and well-being concerns on-site, workplace accidents and related injuries are likely to follow suit. According to the National Safety Council, moderate and severe mental health distress instances have been linked to a greater risk of workplace accidents. This is likely because employees facing mental health concerns are often less focused, engaged, and aware of potential safety hazards, resulting in poor decision-making and unnecessary risk-taking. According to research from Eastern Kentucky University, taking a closer look at specific mental health concerns, between 60% and 80% of workplace accidents stem from workers experiencing stress-related distractions or fatigue on the job. These accidents lead to injured employees and contribute to higher workers’ compensation costs for employers.
quote icon

91% of working adults believe that a company’s culture should support mental health.

per Harvard Business Review

Ignoring employees’ mental health and well-being can significantly have consequences for organizations. That’s why employers must adopt effective workplace well-being initiatives.

 

 

Steps Employers Can Take

To promote employees’ mental health and well-being, organizations should consider implementing the following measures:

  • Foster a supportive workplace culture. First and foremost, employers must promote a company culture that prioritizes employees’ mental health and well-being. In doing so, employers will be able to show their employees that they value them beyond their work contributions and are invested in their overall health and happiness. Having a supportive workplace culture in place will also help employers lead by example within their workforce, highlighting the importance of maintaining work-life balance and establishing a more open dialogue surrounding mental health topics.
  • Establish a long-term strategy. In addition to fostering a supportive workplace culture, employers need to have long-term strategies for promoting employees’ mental health and well-being. Such strategies should be well-documented and clearly outline the steps organizations take to keep their workers healthy and happy. They should also list the specific objectives employers are trying to accomplish through their well-being initiatives. By having long-term strategies in place, organizations will be able to identify the effectiveness of their well-being initiatives better, calculate the return on investment, and determine when initiatives need to be updated or changed. Key well-being initiatives for employers to consider within their long-term strategies include:
    • Conducting routine well-being awareness training and mental health screenings with all employees
    • Providing employees with a variety of well-being resources and helplines
    • Having managers conduct monthly check-ins with employees to discuss any issues that may be negatively impacting their mental health (e.g., excessive workloads or conflicts with co-workers) and find proper solutions
    • Educating managers on how to recognize symptoms of mental health distress and mental illness among employees as well as how to respond to a mental health crisis effectively
    • Creating an employee assistance program to allow employees to seek additional help for mental health concerns as needed
    • Offering greater work flexibility (e.g., remote work and flexible hours) or extra paid time off to help employees maintain work-life balance
    • Hosting on-site events, classes, or similar offerings to allow employees to take a break from work and unwind (e.g., company picnics, mindfulness classes, and exercise groups)
    • Reviewing all workplace policies to ensure they align with employee well-being initiatives and promote a supportive culture
Employee well-being refers to employees’ physical, mental, social, and financial health, which various workplace dynamics can often influence (e.g., workload, connections with co-workers, and available resources).

While employee well-being plays a crucial role in employee retention, it also significantly impacts business performance. As a result, organizations need to take employee well-being seriously and do what they can to foster a culture that promotes well-being.

 

 

The Important Role of Mental Health in Employee Well-being

Over the years, many organizations have attempted to promote employee well-being by offering workplace solutions aimed solely at maintaining physical health. These solutions may include serving nutritious meal options on-site, smoking cessation programs, or providing discounted memberships to local gyms.

While such solutions can certainly help employees make healthier lifestyle choices and reduce their risk of chronic illnesses, promoting employee well-being requires organizations to develop initiatives that address all aspects of workers’ overall health and happiness. Specifically, employees’ mental health must be considered.

Mental health consists of individuals’ emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how individuals communicate, form relationships, contribute to their communities, and cope with adversity. In times of distress, individuals may suffer from poor mental health. Emotions associated with poor mental health include grief, stress, sadness, or anxiousness.

It’s important to note that mental health differs from mental illness. In particular, emotions stemming from poor mental health are not diagnosable conditions but rather temporary feelings. On the other hand, mental illnesses pertain to various clinical mental health disorders (e.g., anxiety and depression). These disorders are chronic and affect how individuals think, behave, and function daily. Yet, individuals who experience prolonged periods of poor mental health may eventually develop mental illnesses.

In any case, mental health is a critical factor in determining employees’ well-being—one that organizations can’t afford to ignore. Recent research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that nearly three-quarters (71%) of U.S. adults experience at least one adverse symptom of stress (e.g., feeling overwhelmed or anxious) each year. Furthermore, mental health can make a difference in employees’ physical health. According to the CDC, poor mental health can increase individuals’ likelihood of developing chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Considering these findings, it’s clear that employers must account for employees’ mental health when addressing their overall well-being.

 

 

How Employee Mental Health Impacts the Workplace

Employees’ mental health and well-being can impact employers in various ways. Here are some key business objectives that may be influenced by overall workplace well-being:

  • Business performance—Employee well-being can make a difference in business performance. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), mental health concerns in the workplace can contribute to increased absenteeism rates, lost productivity, decreased customer satisfaction, and reduced profits. In addition, the NCBI reported that work-related stress is a leading cause of poor job performance among employees, negatively affecting employers as a whole.
quote icon

91% of working adults believe that a company’s culture should support mental health.

per Harvard Business Review

  • Stakeholder perception—Apart from business performance, employee well-being can also impact stakeholder perception. According to a recent report from the Harvard Business Review, the vast majority (91%) of working adults believe that a company’s culture should support mental health. Employers who disregard their employees’ mental health and well-being are more likely to be perceived poorly by stakeholders, resulting in reduced workplace morale, reputational damages, and lost business. Such negative stakeholder perception could have lasting impacts on an employer’s brand, limiting its ability to attract top talent and remain profitable for the foreseeable future.

 

  • Workplace safety—If organizations encounter employee mental health and well-being concerns on-site, workplace accidents and related injuries are likely to follow suit. According to the National Safety Council, moderate and severe mental health distress instances have been linked to a greater risk of workplace accidents. This is likely because employees facing mental health concerns are often less focused, engaged, and aware of potential safety hazards, resulting in poor decision-making and unnecessary risk-taking. According to research from Eastern Kentucky University, taking a closer look at specific mental health concerns, between 60% and 80% of workplace accidents stem from workers experiencing stress-related distractions or fatigue on the job. These accidents lead to injured employees and contribute to higher workers’ compensation costs for employers.
Ignoring employees’ mental health and well-being can significantly have consequences for organizations. That’s why employers must adopt effective workplace well-being initiatives.

 

 

Steps Employers Can Take

To promote employees’ mental health and well-being, organizations should consider implementing the following measures:

  • Foster a supportive workplace culture. First and foremost, employers must promote a company culture that prioritizes employees’ mental health and well-being. In doing so, employers will be able to show their employees that they value them beyond their work contributions and are invested in their overall health and happiness. Having a supportive workplace culture in place will also help employers lead by example within their workforce, highlighting the importance of maintaining work-life balance and establishing a more open dialogue surrounding mental health topics.
  • Establish a long-term strategy. In addition to fostering a supportive workplace culture, employers need to have long-term strategies for promoting employees’ mental health and well-being. Such strategies should be well-documented and clearly outline the steps organizations take to keep their workers healthy and happy. They should also list the specific objectives employers are trying to accomplish through their well-being initiatives. By having long-term strategies in place, organizations will be able to identify the effectiveness of their well-being initiatives better, calculate the return on investment, and determine when initiatives need to be updated or changed. Key well-being initiatives for employers to consider within their long-term strategies include:
    • Conducting routine well-being awareness training and mental health screenings with all employees
    • Providing employees with a variety of well-being resources and helplines
    • Having managers conduct monthly check-ins with employees to discuss any issues that may be negatively impacting their mental health (e.g., excessive workloads or conflicts with co-workers) and find proper solutions
    • Educating managers on how to recognize symptoms of mental health distress and mental illness among employees as well as how to respond to a mental health crisis effectively
    • Creating an employee assistance program to allow employees to seek additional help for mental health concerns as needed
    • Offering greater work flexibility (e.g., remote work and flexible hours) or extra paid time off to help employees maintain work-life balance
    • Hosting on-site events, classes, or similar offerings to allow employees to take a break from work and unwind (e.g., company picnics, mindfulness classes, and exercise groups)
    • Reviewing all workplace policies to ensure they align with employee well-being initiatives and promote a supportive culture

The Last Word

Overall, it’s evident that employee well-being is a matter that organizations of all sizes and sectors should take seriously. By understanding how employee well-being impacts key business objectives and making a conscious effort to keep workers happy and healthy, employers can reduce their workplace well-being exposures and maintain successful operations.

For more employee well-being resources, contact an InsureGood Advisor today.

Additional Resources

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