16 January 2021|Latest Posts, Psychology
By Mark Newey. Mental Wellness has been on the business agenda for a while, but corporates have not taken the issue seriously enough. The following statistics were recorded pre-COVID:
· 80% of people are disengaged from their work (1)
· It’s estimated that 9 in 10 workers in the UK have been affected by mental ill-health (2)
· 79% of UK workers are experiencing some level of burnout with nearly half of UK workers (48%) showing signs of moderate to severe burnout – second only to Japan at 50%. (3)
Understandably anxiety levels rose hugely at the beginning of lockdown as we genuinely perceived our lives to be in danger, and it was worse for the homeworkers. According to a study by Oracle and Workplace Intelligence, 85 percent of people said mental health issues at work (i.e. stress, anxiety, and depression) affect their home life and 78% said that the pandemic has negatively affected their mental health. (4)
A Report by WISERD (Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research), showed that, on average, those who were exclusively working at home during the three months of the first lockdown had significantly lower levels of mental health overall than those who did not work at home at all. (5)
Stress and burnout are major issues for business in terms of employee performance and productivity; however, because they are not understood, they are ignored. Stress is the biggest source of absenteeism, as well as being the reason behind 90% of GP’s visits, but because of the stigma around mental health and the fear of losing their job, employees feel the need to come to work when they are feeling stressed and therefore unproductive (presenteeism).
Also due to the rise of use of technology, especially mobile phones, emails are flooding into employees inboxes day and night, which has made it very difficult for staff members to switch off (leaveism). All of this leads to burnout. The obvious factor associated with burnout is excessive workload; however, the other causes are down to company culture:
· Lack of control, autonomy or decision-making authority
· Insufficient reward
· Difficult workplace relationships
· Lack of peer support
· Lack of fairness
· Conflict of values
· Job insecurity
The culture at work is crucial to how employees handle stress and burnout, and this can only start with an understanding of what stress, burnout, anxiety and depression actually are. But, because none of us have received any education with regards to mental wellness, many companies do not know how to create a relevant culture.
The Future of Employee Assistance Programmes
Existing Employee Assistance Programmes focus solely on reactive support, waiting until a staff member is really struggling, which of course feeds into the mental health stigma and means that typical EAP usage ranges currently from just 2-4% (6) This has to change.
The research is unequivocal:
· A company with highly engaged employees achieves a financial performance four times greater than companies with poor engagement. (7)
· Engaged employees generate 43% more revenue than disengaged ones. (8)
Engagement cannot happen without a good level of employee mental wellness. It is therefore essential that we urgently change the conversation on mental health. Stress, anxiety and depression are not mental illnesses: they are signals from our system telling us that our life is not working and that we need to change something. Why do we ignore them and wait until they spiral out of control: becoming a mental illness? The simple answer is that we don’t know how our minds work, or how we can create mental wellness. With increased home working and reduced colleague contact, the need for employers to introduce staff to Mental Wellness Education has never been more urgent.
Mental Wellness Education is a transformational journey of self-discovery to find out who we are “behind the mask”, to let go of the things that are holding us back (including Stress, Anxiety and Depression) and to become self-empowered to live a life of purpose, connection and authenticity. It means understanding who we are and how we create our reality on a moment by moment basis. Mental wellness is based on self-awareness, self-esteem, authenticity and a vision for life. The journey of self-discovery will empower employees to build and maintain their mental wellness, as well as be better team players and leaders and be more efficient and productive.
The other advantage of Mental Wellness Education is that it can easily be delivered online, via technology and therefore remains completely confidential and much more attractive to the employee. In fact, Mental Wellness Education is amongst the interventions that achieve the highest returns on investment (11:1: i.e. £11 back for every £1 invested) which tend to have the following characteristics:
· They offer organisation‑wide initiatives supporting large numbers of employees,
· They are focused on prevention or designed to build employee resilience
· They use the confidentiality of technology (9)
2021 is the Year to turn things round and invest in Mental Wellness Education
According to Unmind, in 2021, especially after the unnerving experiences of the pandemic and lockdowns, 80% of employers will be looking to improve education, awareness and prevention on mental health-related issues, and this correlates with the 80% of employees who now expect a corporate culture of better awareness and handling of mental health. A pro-active approach to mental health at work is absolutely essential.
To discover more, please visit www.headucate.me.
About the Author
Mark Newey is on a mission to eliminate stress, anxiety, and depression in a generation; he’s a self-avowed revolutionary in treating these mental health conditions. After guiding himself through recovery from a breakdown and training in the neurosciences, Mark set up his own psychotherapy practice and over the last 20 years has helped thousands of people beat stress, anxiety and depression. He is now making his life-changing teaching available to reach a much wider audience via a revolutionary online programme, www.headucate.me. The online platform puts mental wellness advice into an easily accessible, mobile-friendly, online programme to empower all to take control of their mental wellbeing.
Twitter – Author @MarkNewey at @Headucate.me
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/headucate-me/
1. Deloitte Shift Index Survey)
2. (Mind, (2011). Managing and supporting mental health at work: Disclosure tools for managers. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.)
3. (O.C. Tanner Institute 2020 Global Culture Report)
4. Oracle and Workplace Intelligence: https://www.oracle.com/human-capital-management/ai-at-work/
5. Felstead, A and Reuschke, D (2020) ‘Homeworking in the UK: before and during the 2020 lockdown’, WISERD Report, Cardiff: Wales Institute of Social and Economic Research.
6. (Deloitte Mental Health and Employers January 2020)
7. (Watson Wyatt)
8. (Hay Group 2014)
9. (Deloitte Mental Health and Employers January 2020)