A happy office is a productive office. Our wellbeing has a huge effect on how our days go at work. Feeling stressed, ill, tired, or anxious reduces our concentration, and therefore, our productivity. The feeling of a fruitless day at work can have a knock-on effect on the team and our emotional state. This often creates a vicious cycle between our mental health and our time at work. The pandemic has worsened wellbeing all over the world, and consequently, reduced successful days at work, drove up absences, increased burnout, and staff turnover. Employee Therapy Programmes aim to break this cycle by tackling any mental health issues staff members might have, and therefore, reconstructing our positive feelings around work. Investing in a programme like this leads to significant reductions in costs for businesses. Let’s take a closer look at the best way to implement a successful Employee Therapy Programme.
One in five adults experiences a mental health disorder each year. This can be a reoccurring episode or a new illness. As these episodes come around, staff members’ mental heaths worsen, and signing off from work starts to go up. This has been one of the most important issues lately as absences all over the UK have been rapidly growing.
An estimated 12.5 million workdays were lost in the UK in 2016 due to stress and mental health problems. This has increased to 17.9 million by 2019/20.
Since the start of the pandemic in 2019, mental health issues and absent days have skyrocketed and mental wellbeing in the UK further worsened. In the last two years, the amount of people reporting psychological distress in the UK has reached 27.3%. This was a higher increase than expected as part of the normal trend due to the unusually high levels of stress caused by Covid-19.
As the decline in wellbeing rapidly escalated due to the pandemic, attendance at work and the levels of productivity due to stress and mental health issues have dropped accordingly.
A recent American study has investigated profit loss due to mental and physical illness in the workplace. Being absent from work for physical health problems connected to obesity, smoking, hypertension, diabetes, smoking, and inactivity cost employers in the US an estimated $36.4 billion. Compared to this, mental illness costs $193 billion annually, and the total economic loss caused by its consequences reached $317 billion. Other recent studies show that costs associated with staff turnover due to poor mental wellbeing take away between 60-80% of HR-allocated budgets. These numbers have revealed the difference between losses due to physical versus mental health with the latter causing significantly more damage to employers.
The huge numbers include many different aspects of how poor mental health drives up the costs for companies. These include the money it requires to fill in for absent employees, administrative costs that come with staff members quitting their jobs and new ones having to be recruited, hired, and trained, low levels of productivity that increases time spent on the same task, or work-errors having to be corrected due to poor concentration caused by burnout or poor wellbeing. These issues, however, can all be improved by picking the right Employee Therapy Program.
Staff wellbeing programmes can address both physical and mental health. However, recent studies discovered that “employee receptivity” is one of the most important factors when implementing a successful and profitable programme. This means our reaction and engagement with the type of programme introduced to us determines the effectiveness of the initiative.
Employees are often discouraged to engage with such programmes when they are not tailored to what they really need. Therefore, introducing an individualised therapy programmes is the most effective investment.
An individually tailored programme can address a wide range of areas to help us feel better. Employees are helped to choose a type of therapy according to what they would like to work on. These can include:
Pressure & Stress at the workplace
Debt & Gambling
Short interventions such as Mindfulness training or a CBT workshop are also proven to decrease stress and anxiety, help with planning, time management, and positive thinking which might be sufficient enough to break negative cycles at work for employees with lower-level issues.
HIGHER PRODUCTIVITY & LOWER ABSENCE
Employee therapy programmes will generally improve the quality of life of employees, and therefore, help with productivity and attendance. More specifically, tailored Employee Therapy Programmes have been proven to lead to staff members scoring higher on emotional wellbeing, and lower on stress-level scales after completing their sessions. And why is this important for businesses?
Employees that score high on happiness and wellbeing measures show superior productivity levels, in some cases with as much as a 12% increase.
This shows how the happiness and mental wellbeing of employees can drive up efficiency, and therefore the profits of your business. Staff wellbeing will also reduce the volume of absences, and as a result, the expenses that come with having to fill in for missing employees.
A therapy-oriented programme can also help you safeguard your staff members, which is becoming a highly demanded aspect of a safe working environment. Proper safeguarding procedures can help with bringing attention to important mental health problems amongst staff before they became serious, and therefore, save lives. The topic of wellbeing at work has become a popular idea in the last few years, which led to an increasing amount of potential employees asking for at-work therapy as part of their future contracts.
A TEAM OF EXPERTS
People are recognising that it is important for their company to have someone outside of the office to turn to with personal and work-related issues. Employee programmes can provide such confidential outside support. It is a crucial aspect to have the person helping with our wellbeing to be someone that does not belong to our company and is not part of management or our normal team. This can understandably increase staff engagement with therapy due to the comfort that distance from their everyday work environment creates. Providing an outside team of experts that can attend to different issues according to what we feel like working on, is more efficient than hiring one therapist to cover all bases in the company. Hiring a group of therapists specified in different therapeutic models is the best investment to tackle mental health problems at the workplace and have significant positive results.
REDUCED STAFF TURNOVER & HR COSTS
The lower levels of stress and mental health issues not only increase our productivity and reduce signs of burnout but also reduce staff turnover. Issues with staff longevity are known to create extra work and expenses for companies.
Next to the previously mentioned huge HR costs, high turnover is also connected to loss in knowledge continuity within businesses.
In the private sector, loss of knowledge is a threat to the company’s existence, especially if members of staff that leave, join a competing organisation. Improving staff wellbeing can increase the longevity of employees, and therefore, reduce cost, administrational hours, and knowledge loss. This can save many companies from going under.
Burnout is another issue associated with fast-paced work environments. A major analytic review of all recent burnout-related research found that poor wellbeing and high levels of burnout are significantly connected to making mistakes at work. This is not surprising if we think about how our concentration can drop when we are required to pay attention to tasks at work while our minds are filled with personal problems or unaddressed negative feelings around our careers.
Burnout at the workplace drives up the chances of making errors at work by 83.3%, while poor wellbeing can reach as high as 88.9%.
The high number of errors burnout and poor wellbeing create will take a significant amount of extra time at work to correct. And that is still the better outcome, as depending on the type of error, mistakes in the medical field or finance-oriented offices can cost the company loss of clients, accounts, or loss of human lives. Reflecting on these findings, it becomes clear just how important taking care of our emotional state is when it comes to jobs with high responsibility.
As our awareness around mental health has grown in the last decade, the popularity of individually tailored Employee Therapy Programmes has strongly increased. These programmes have been proven to improve our general wellbeing, stress levels, productivity, and help safeguard staff members by providing confidential outside support.
Initiatives like these can cover a wide range of issues in our workplace by providing a group of professionals specialising in different therapeutic models. Therefore, the programme can help with a number of problems employers might struggle to keep up with, including reducing staff turnover, knowledge loss, burnout, work-related errors, absences, and consequently, increasing profitability for your business.
Edwards, A. V., & Marcus, S. (2018). Employee perceptions of well-being programmes. Journal of Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences, 12(1), 7.
Guilding, C., Lamminmaki, D., & McManus, L. (2014). Staff turnover costs: In search of accountability. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 36, 231-243.
Hafner, M., van Stolk, C., Saunders, C., Krapels, J., & Baruch, B. (2015). Health, wellbeing and productivity in the workplace. A Britain's Healthiest Company summary report" RAND Corporation Report, Available online: https://www. rand. org/pubs/research_reports/RR1084. html.
Hall, L. H., Johnson, J., Watt, I., Tsipa, A., & O’Connor, D. B. (2016). Healthcare staff wellbeing, burnout, and patient safety: a systematic review. PloS one, 11(7), e0159015.
Spence, G. B. (2015). Workplace wellbeing programs: if you build it they may NOT come... because it's not what they really need!.
Urbancová, H., & Linhartová, L. (2011). Staff turnover as a possible threat to knowledge loss. Journal of competitiveness, 3(3).
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