Having a workplace that values mental health and wellbeing isn’t just beneficial for the employees. In contrast, employers get a range of benefits from protecting mental health in the workplace as well. For one, you will be compliant with your legal obligations to safeguard against hazards that cause harm to mental health in addition to other legal obligations. Protecting mental health can also be cost effective for the business on multiple accounts. Furthermore, you may be able to get more productivity from your employees than before. In addition, creating a workplace that is encouraging of mental health will make employees want to stay with the business and invite new employees.
What is Mental Health?
Mental Health is a health concern that affects everyone as one of Australia’s highest disease burdens. In fact, approximately 1 in 6 workers in any given time are experiencing struggles with their mental health. When a person has poor mental health, they will experience negative changes to how they think, feel and behave. In addition, poor mental health can also alter someone’s physical appearance. As a place where people spend a large portion of their time, a workplace can have a major impact on an employee’s mental health. As a result, it is important for workplaces to effectively protect their employee’s wellbeing.
What are the Benefits?
Compliance with the Law
Employers have an obligation under the various state Workplace Health & Safety Acts to prevent risk of hazards to their employee’s mental health. Hazards to mental health includes high job demands, poor support from management and bullying. Broadly speaking, hazards to mental health include anything that increases work-related stress. If you are unsure what the hazards are in your workplace, the best place to start is asking employees. They will know better than anyone what the hazards are to their mental health. However, Work Health & Safety (WHS) are not the only legal obligations placed onto employers regarding mental health. The law requires employers not to discriminate against workers because of a mental health condition. This obligation can go as far to make reasonable adjustments to ensure workers can still fulfill their role.
Protecting your employee’s mental health not only ensures compliance with the law but will also be cost effective for your business. Research estimates NSW businesses lose $2.8 Billion annually in associated costs of mental health. Costs to businesses stemming from mental health include litigation, leave and lost productivity. Furthermore, SafeWork Australia revealed that lost productivity alone costs Australian businesses roughly $6 Billion every year. Therefore, by creating a workplace that promotes good mental health, your business will be able to decrease the costs other businesses face by overlooking the importance of mental health. In fact, it is estimated every dollar spent investing in good mental health workplace practices has a return of $2.30. That’s 230% return.
When employees struggle with mental health and the stress induced by hazards in the workplace, their performance drops. The drop in performance relates not only to the quality of their work but also attendance. An investigation in 2008 shows that each worker on average takes over three days off each year because of workplace stress. In contrast, a workplace with good mental health practices will see employees performing at their best because of high levels of wellbeing.
Keep Workers Long Term
Having an environment that promotes employee wellbeing helps to ensure workers will stay with the business long term. Around 50% of the people surveyed by Beyond Blue in 2014 stated poor mental health practices in the workplace as a reason they left a previous job. If you want your employees to stick around, you need to ensure they are satisfied and enjoy coming to the workplace. Having a workplace that effectively addressess hazards to mental health is a great start.
Attractive Environment for New Employees
A workplace that is well known for supporting good mental health practices will also help attract new employees as well. Three out of four Australians look for a mentally healthy environment when looking for a job. With employment seeking websites also posting job reviews, a workplace’s practices are more accessible to the public than ever. potential employees than ever. If you want great assets to join your team rather than a competitor, a workplace with a good mental health environment can set you apart.
Overall, it is clear your business will gain multiple benefits from promoting good mental health in the workplace. In addition to compliance with the law, your business will be able to see increased productivity amongst your workers. The increased productivity can decrease the costs of your business dramatically. Furthermore, your business will become an attractive environment for employees to stay and new employees to join.