Mental health support and wellness are becoming critical lifelines for workplaces around the world, but a lack of support could end up costing businesses millions of dollars in lost productivity and too much disruption.
According to Australia's CoreHealth Technologies CRO Dr Tyler Amell, poor mental health in the workplace can lead to poor physical health, which leads to unproductivity and absenteeism.
“Instead of scrambling into action after a crisis, employers need to be more proactive in supporting employees with appropriate tools and resources before it hits,” he comments.
Amell adds that prevention provides results.
“Preventative strategies include assessing who might be at risk of mental health illness, talking about it with your team to reduce stigma and making sure leaders have appropriate training to help colleagues in need before a crisis occurs.
“It's about planting the seed for improved resilience and being better prepared for any future work disability risk.
Amell offers three ways employers can improve mental health in the workplace:
1. Dial up digital
Amell says that in the last three years, many apps have been developed to support mental health. “Psychometric tools, stress heatmaps and wellness gamification modules have proven to help teams to switch off, receive advice discreetly and build their resilience.
“If you are not already, make sure you are giving your team access to digital tools, dashboards, resilience monitors or wellbeing apps so they can monitor their own mental health.
“The tools that work best are the ones that fit in with your business' culture, focus on individual risk and prepare people for changes. There are many digital tools that can challenge individuals to improve their lifestyle behaviour. They encourage small changes like taking the stairs or parking the car further away, improving sleep quality and diet all adding up to an improved lifestyle over time.”
2. Update your reporting
Amell encourages managers to report how many days they lose to stress-related sickness and absences every year.
“Clear reporting can motivate leaders to manage stress levels proactively in their teams.
"Real time absence reporting gives organisations greater visibility of their teams' health and can influence when leaders might step in, thereby improving early intervention. The internal data gathered from this reporting can also provide the evidence to invest in worker health and productivity programs.
3. Speak to an independent expert
Amell says workplace rehabilitation providers are experts in helping employees who have a work-related physical or mental injury, recovery, and returning employees back to work.
“They also offer services to help employers mitigate the risk of injury in the workplace. This is time well spent.