When you are working hard to try to get your business towards achieving its next big milestone, it can make sense for you to endeavour to wring every last drop of productivity out of every minute of the working day. However, doing this could prove counter-productive by straining your staff.
Evidence abounds that mental health issues are more widespread than many employers probably realise – and these conditions could be having adverse knock-on effects on your moneymaking.
Mental health statistics make sobering reading
This becomes clear when we consider reams of statistics shared by the UK-based Equality and Human Rights Commission. According to this non-departmental public body, it is in the UK alone that a quarter of UK adults have at least one diagnosable mental health issue in any one year.
However, the lingering stigma surrounding mental illness means that many instances of ill mental health fail to come to light. According to research, 92% of people deem an admission of poor mental health potentially career-damaging.
Unfortunately, the same survey reveals that 56% of people would be reluctant to employ others who they knew occasionally experience depression. Hence, you could be failing to even acknowledge the possibility of mental health woes in your workplace, let alone prepare for the possibility.
How can you act to prevent or curb mental health issues?
Research has found that the majority of people with mental health conditions are not only paid employees but also nearly as likely as the rest of us to be working. At any one time, almost one in six of your workplace could plausibly be suffering from a mental health issue.
Such an epidemic could be severely blunting your firm’s moneymaking potential. According to an estimate cited by The Guardian, the UK economy lost nearly £35 billion to mental health problems in 2016 alone. You could be fostering a “culture of avoidance” which encourages such money-draining.
Dr Sara Evans-Lacko, a London School of Economics research fellow who recently co-authored a study on workplace depression, noted: “Our research shows that where employers create a culture of avoidance around talking about depression, employees themselves end up avoiding work”.
She added that “even when they return to work they are not as productive as they could be.” The good news, however, is that there are clever ways of helping to close this productivity gap.
Little measures can go a surprisingly long way
Debbie Williamson – co-founder of Swoon, an online furniture seller – has revealed to providing her staff with regular opportunities to exercise outdoors after work. She said that this arrangement “contributes significantly to morale”.
The Guardian quotes psychotherapist Robert Stewart as saying that exercise “helps with the production of endorphins and serotonin – our pain relief and happy hormones.” These two hormones, he adds, “assist in the regulation of metabolism, sleep, concentration and motivation.”
Therefore, physical wellness and mental health often go hand-in-hand; this would justify you considering the implementation of a holistic employee wellness scheme from a company such as LifeWorks.