Addressing Stress at Work: The Importance of Employee Mental Health
Updated: Jun 3, 2021
I recently received a question that was submitted by someone who had read my article on the importance of employee health published in Forbes. She asked me the following:
"I just read your article in Forbes. Beautifully written and mirrors many of the conversations I have been having around wellbeing in the workplace. Curious about your work as a consultant, aside from expense, why do companies not find value on these programs?"
Okay, so there's lots to unpack here! I want to emphasize the importance of employee wellness as we continue to evaluate the culture of our workplaces. Now more than ever, we need to start recognizing and combating the signs of burnout. Whether you're a leader, team member or both, you can learn to identify signs of burnout in yourself and your co-workers. In doing so, you can help your company and yourself thrive, rather than just survive.
The Benefits of Employee Wellness Programs
If you hold a leadership position in your place of work, you have almost certainly seen first-hand the way mental health impacts employee performance, productivity and motivation. When the team you lead is comprised of overworked, burnt out employees, you will see their fatigue reflected in their work. Happy team-positive work performance. Seems simple, right? Yet, I continue to see resistance in the corporate landscape to investing in employee mental health and wellness initiatives.
While the corporate landscape has begun to shift toward acknowledging the importance of employee mental health, I've noticed a lack of understanding in regards to the long term benefits of wellness benefits. So, let's unpack the ethical and financial costs of employee burnout.
The Ethical and Financial Costs of Employee Burn
From a financial standpoint, giving your employees the resources to alleviate unnecessary anxiety will help you avoid the high cost of stress. Did you know that stress costs the nation $300 billion annually in medical bills and lost productivity? Stress is also the underlying cause of 60% of all human illness and disease. Think of all the productivity, and as result, money lost due to stress-induced health issues that employees may experience as a result of burnout.
From an ethical standpoint, leaders of the corporate world should consider the harmful effects of employee in burnout. In 2019, the World Health Organization declared burnout an official medical diagnosis with a number of symptoms including: exhaustion, cynicism, feelings depression and anxiety, and reduced professional efficacy. You can learn about the effects of stress on both the individual and the corporate landscape in more detail in my white paper on employee burnout.
I invite you to consider how a company would fare in the long term if its employees constantly feel unmotivated or anxious. Their mental health suffers and as a result, so does the work.
Prioritizing Employee Wellness: The Right Kind of Leadership
I believe effective leadership means thinking about the work from the point of the entire team. If you are a leader in the corporate world, it is your responsibility to make sure you and your coworkers feel energized by your work, rather than defeated by it. This is why when I received this question, I wanted to highlight the value of employee wellness initiatives. I believe in this work and I am optimistic that positive change will continue to come.
Are you wondering if you are experiencing the negative effects of burnout? If you're interested in learning how to prioritize your health, schedule your free breakthrough session and we can create a personalized plan to help you thrive in and out of the workplace.