Good mental health is good for business

Published at Sep 25, 2017, in Features

“The wealth of business depends on the health of workers” – Dr Maria Neira, Director, WHO

Managing mental health in the workplace is a growing challenge for modern businesses. But creating a culture of health and wellbeing within your company shouldn’t be seen as a burdensome cost, but as an opportunity for growth. Many businesses are realising that their employees are their greatest asset, and by investing into their mental health and wellbeing, they are seeing a positive return of up to six times their initial investment. That’s because happy and healthy employees are productive, engaged, and more likely to stay employees.

Mental Health in Australia

According to the ABS, 45 per cent of Australian adults will experience a mental health condition at some point in their life, and 20 per cent of Australians will experience one in the next year. Perhaps even more alarming is the link between an individual’s mental health and their work environment. Recent statistics from Safe Work Australia cite work-related stress, workplace harassment, and workplace violence as the three main drivers of mental disorders in Australia. In fact, 92% of mental disorder claims between 2010 and 2015 were attributed to work-related mental stress. And it’s expensive – through reduced productivity and increased absenteeism, the least mentally healthy 25 per cent of Australia’s workforce is costing the nation $17.8 billion a year.

Under current WHS legislation, employers are required to provide and maintain a work environment that is safe and without risks to health – including mental health. So why not treat this as an opportunity for growth? By implementing a workplace health and wellbeing program you are investing in your employees, and strong evidence exists that the benefits come for both the individual, and the organisation that employs them.

Investing in Mental Health – The Business Case

Businesses don’t usually introduce health and wellbeing programs purely for economic reasons and therefore rarely evaluate them in economic terms. But why not? The data shows strong evidence of a positive return on investment when they are properly implemented. A 2008 study found that for ever dollar invested into workplace health and wellbeing programs, there is a return on investment of between three and six dollars.

The first benefit of a health and wellness program comes from avoiding the costs associated with an unhappy and unhealthy workforce. A 2007 study found that the average wellness program brings down absenteeism by 25 percent, workers compensation costs by 40 percent, and disability management costs by 24 percent. But it doesn’t end there. That’s because investing in mental health is not just about avoiding the costs associated with an unhealthy workforce, but also about obtaining the benefits from having a healthy one. When you invest in your employees, they invest in you.

  • Healthy workers are three times more productive – Medibank Private, 2005.
  • Two-thirds of workers would work harder for an employer that invested in their health – Aviva, 2011.
  • The percentage of engaged employees increased from 7 percent to 55 percent – Comcare, 2011.
  • Employers with health and wellness programs are four times more likely to retain talent – HAPIA, 2010

So whether you’re a small business, or a global enterprise, a good health and wellbeing program is an investment opportunity with proven success. It’s possible to improve the lives of your employees and your bottom line simultaneously.

Mywellbeing

In order to manage workplace mental health, myosh consulted with experts and clients to develop the myosh wellbeing platform. With an innovative set of cloud based tools and resources, mywellbeing makes it easy for managers to identify, nurture and improve workplace mental health.

Mywellbeing provides management with the tools to implement a wellbeing program and directly measure and review its success. For the employees, mywellbeing makes it easy to identify and report issues, and to request help confidentially.

For more information, visit mywellbeing and request a demonstration.

“Learn to look after your staff first, and the rest will follow” – Richard Branson

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