• Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

5 ways to improve employee mental health

The workplace—where many spend most of their waking hours each week—is often the most structured and controlled environment in workers’ lives, and often their primary means of social and emotional support. The workplace is a critical setting for understanding and supporting mental health. Basic care for employees’ psychological well-being is the fundamental expectation—aka table stakes—for today’s competitive and successful businesses. APA’s 2024 Work in America survey finds younger workers feel stressed, lonely, and undervalued.

Equipping workers to manage daily stress and handle the inevitable challenges that affect their mental health costs money, time, and energy. But evidence shows that the cost of failing to support employees’ psychological well-being is often far higher.

Employees with high levels of stress are more likely to miss work or to show lower engagement and commitment while at work, which can negatively affect your organization’s bottom line. Even before the pandemic, employee stress levels were high. A 2017 analysis found the estimated cost of job stress nationwide may be as much as $187 billion, with 70% to 90% of those losses resulting from declines in productivity. And the pandemic has only worsened the situation.

Mental health conditions, sometimes incited or exacerbated by stress-inducing or unsupportive work environments, can be just as costly to employers. The American Psychiatric Association Foundation’s Center for Workplace Mental Health estimates that the cost of depression alone to the U.S. economy is more than $210 billion annually in the form of absenteeism and lost productivity. According to the Integrated Benefits Institute, depression costs employers $17 per employee per year in disability leave payments. People with anxiety and depression are also more likely to develop potentially costly problems with their physical health.

Positive and supportive workplace practices, on the other hand, can boost employee physical and psychological health, company morale, and your bottom line. APA’s 2023 Work in America survey confirmed that psychological well-being is a very high priority for workers. Specifically, 92% of workers said it is very (57%) or somewhat (35%) important to them to work for an organization that values their emotional and psychological well-being. In addition, 92% said it is very (52%) or somewhat (40%) important to them to work for an organization that provides support for employee mental health.

Fostering a positive work environment and making mental health resources available can also help attract top talent to your organization. Even if you’re already committed to protecting and enhancing your employees’ mental health, it can often be difficult to identify practical ways to support your employees and enact meaningful ways to make a difference. Applied psychological research in work settings strongly supports five components that are essential to these efforts.


By admin

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