Why workplace mental health should be top priority for organisations

What do you want to see on a Monday morning – disgruntled and bleary eyed employees who seem to be oozing disinterest or motivated individuals who are happy to take ownership of their tasks?

While organisations are doing a fair bit in terms of employee perks, here’s what your associates are really looking for (hint: it’s not yoga or an unlimited supply of kale chips): an encouraging workspace that prioritises positive values such as effective communication, employee motivation and workplace mental health.

PWC makes a unique call to action: make wellness ‘business as usual’

Workplace mental health may be more important than you think for growing your business. According to this report by PWC, mental health conditions result in substantial revenue loss to organisations. But when organisations implement actionable strategies to improve corporate mental health, they can, on average, expect $2.30 in benefits on every dollar spent, typically in the form of improved productivity, enthusiasm, focus and desire to drive innovation.

Some telltale signs of deteriorating workplace mental health

Absenteeism and presenteeism

Absenteeism essentially occurs when your employees are forced to take time off due to physical and mental health issues either fueled by work stress or inappropriate work life balance. Presenteeism, on the other hand, occurs when an employee is physically present at the workplace but unable to perform optmimally due to various factors such as exhaustion, lack of motivation or distraction.

Other than everyday niggles, both absenteeism and presenteeism accumulate to huge losses: Australian organisations can lose up to $7 billion each per due to absenteeism, while presentiesm amounts to a larger loss (almost 4 times) at $26 billion per year (data for 2005-2006).

Lack of ownership and innovation

An unmotivated employee will tend to function exactly how their superiors end up treating them: like a cog in a wheel. When you take out the human factor at a workplace, you’re essentially sanctioning mindless mechanisation of tasks that leave no room for innovation.

Employees are inclined to put their best foot forward when an organisation makes active efforts to value their suggestions. Here’s what Dr. Amanda Allisey, prominent researcher and senior lecturer at Deakin Business School’s Department of Management, has to say about employee innovation:

‘When employees enjoy a happy, healthy work environment, you start seeing exciting innovations in business. It’s the difference between an organisation that’s simply functioning and an organisation that’s capable of making huge leaps. It really comes down to the people who are working within it.’

Emotional upheaval

Establishing effective communication channels is an important part of maintaining an optimum level of corporate mental health. When employees feel they have to jump a lot of hoops to communicate in the workplace, they end up in a toxic cul de sac, which eventually leads to emotional upheaval where its public or private. From conveying deadlines to goal setting, top management at organisations need to look at corporate communication as a two-way street for sustaining workplace mental health.

Creating a mentally fit workplace establishes you as an industry leader

Establishing a good work culture can benefit your organisation in many ways, notably in the form of happy employees who add to your good reputation in the industry.

New employees are quick to absorb a company’s culture, and if that culture is a distasteful combination of stunted communication, lack of recognition or appropriate worklife balance, your organisation is in trouble. It’s time to leave toxic practices and beliefs where they belong: in the past.

Overall, as a transformational leader in 2018, you need to prioritize workplace mental health to strengthen your company’s bottomline, boost employee morale and create a sustainable workplace for the future.

Join us on 11 October to learn how to begin or empower your journey.