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Mental Health and Well-Being in the Workplace

Mental Health and Well-being in the Workplace

5 minute read

Well-being is the overall state of employees’ physical, mental, social, and financial health, which can be influenced by various workplace dynamics including workload, co-worker connections, and available resources.

Employee well-being plays a key role in employee retention which has a significant impact on business performance. Employers should take employee well-being seriously and foster a culture that promotes it.

Some well-being offerings are aimed solely at maintaining physical health like discounted gym memberships, smoking cessation programs, or offering nutritious onsite meal options. But more employers are offering initiatives that address all aspects of workers’ overall health and happiness. Employees’ mental health must be considered.

Mental health consists of individuals’ emotional, physiological, and social well-being. And mental health is a key factor in determining employees’ well-being. Emotions associated with mental health include stress, sadness, anxiousness, or grief.

Mental health can make a difference in employees’ physical health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, poor mental health can increase individuals’ likelihood of developing a range of chronic conditions including heart disease and diabetes.

Employees’ mental health and well-being can impact employers in various ways. Here are some key business objectives that may be influenced by overall workplace well-being:

  • Business Performance: Mental health concerns in the workplace can contribute to lost productivity, increased absenteeism rates, decreased customer satisfaction, and reduced profits. Work-related stress is a leading cause of poor job performance among employees, negatively affecting employers as a whole, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).
  • Stakeholder Perception: According to a Harvard Business Review report, 91% of adults believe that a company’s culture should support mental health. Employers who disregard their employees’ well-being and mental health are more likely to be perceived poorly by stakeholders, resulting in reduced workplace morale, reputational damages, and lost business.
  • Workplace Safety: According to the National Safety Council, moderate and severe mental health distress have been linked to a great risk of workplace accidents. This is likely because employees facing mental health concerns are often less focused, engaged, and aware of potential safety hazards, resulting in unnecessary risk-taking and poor decision making. Between 60%-80% of workplace accidents stem from workers experiencing stress-related distractions or fatigue, according to research from Eastern Kentucky University.

To promote employees’ mental health and well-being, organizations should consider implementing the following measures:

  • Foster a supportive workplace culture. It’s important for employers to promote a company culture that prioritizes employees’ mental health and well-being. This shows employees that they are valued and that the company is invested in their overall health and happiness.
  • Establish a long-term strategy. Employers need to have long-term plans in place for promoting employees’ mental health and well-being. They should be well documented and clearly outline the steps. By having them in place, organizations will be able to better identify the effectiveness of their well-being initiatives, calculate the return on investment, and determine when they need to be updated or changed. Key well-being initiatives for employers to consider with their long-term strategies include:
    • Conducting routine well-being awareness training and mental health screenings with all employees
    • Review all workplace policies to ensure they align with employee well-being initiatives and promote a supportive culture
    • Offer great work flexibility or extra paid time off to help employees maintain work-life balance
    • Hosting on-site events or classes to allow employees to take a break from work and unwind (company picnic, exercise groups, etc.)
    • Creating an Employee Assistance Program to allow employees to seek help for mental health concerns as needed
    • Providing employees with a variety of well-being resources and helplines

Employee well-being is a matter that all organizations should take seriously. By understanding how employee well-being impacts key business objectives and making a conscious effort to keep workers happy and healthy, employers can reduce their workplace well-being exposures, and maintain successful operations.

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This blog is intended to be a compilation of information and resources pulled from federal, state, and local agencies. This is not intended to be legal advice. For up to the minute information and guidance on COVID-19, please follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and your local health organizations.

National Insurance Services is not a law firm and no opinion, suggestion, or recommendation of the firm or its employees shall constitute legal advice. Readers are advised to consult with their own attorney for a determination of their legal rights, responsibilities and liabilities, including the interpretation of any statute or regulation, or its application to the readers’ business activities.

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Steve Smith

Steve Smith

Steve Smith, Employee Benefits Consultant for National Insurance Services, has his energy level permanently set at “high.” His maxim is “work hard, play hard.” Steve’s an expert in getting groups of people working together for a higher cause. Minnesota schools, cities, and counties rely on Steve’s unique and creative ideas of engaging employees in their own health and wellness to lower utilization trends. He has 20+ years in the health insurance field doing compliance, cost mitigation, utilization, analytics, wellness plans, and strategic planning. Steve is a licensed insurance agent and holds the designations for Managed Healthcare Professional (The Health Insurance Association of America), Certified Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Professional (National Association of Health Underwriters), and Group Benefits Disability Specialist (Hartford School of Insurance). He specializes in Employee Benefits Consulting for Minnesota schools, cities, and counties including fully insured, self-insured, and stop-loss plans.