Do your employees ever bring their personal drama into the office? Do their personal issues ever impact their focus and productivity? Do you sometimes have to be their “therapist” in the office? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then this article is for you.
Mental Health in the workplace. Yes, I know. Not the most comfortable topic to discuss, but maybe it should be. When you look at some of the recent numbers related to Mental Health in this country, it’s pretty staggering and a bit scary. Consider the magnitude of some of the trends:
- Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting almost 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (18% of the population).
- An estimated 44% of all Americans feel more stressed out today than they did five years ago.
- An estimated 20.2 million adults (8.4% of the population) have a substance use disorder.
- An estimated 15.7 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States have had at least one major depressive episode in the past year (6.7% of all U.S. adults).
- Psychiatric disorders have now surpassed other disorders such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer as the number one cause of disability.
- Suicide in the United States has surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years with increases in every age group except older adults.
Obviously, these are pretty alarming numbers, but what does all this mean for your workplace? It actually means a lot. Whether you know it or not, your employees’ issues are having a significant impact on your bottom line. Consider the following:
- An estimated one million workers miss work each day because of stress, costing companies an estimated $602 per employee per year.
- Over 10% of employees state that mental health issues like depression and anxiety limit their work productivity.
- Depression leads to 200 million lost workdays each year, resulting in an estimated cost of more than $23 billion in lost productivity annually.
- Lost work productivity (including absenteeism and poor job performance) associated with substance abuse costs employers an estimated $197 billion a year.
So what does all this mean for your specific company or office? Not to treat the issue lightly, but in today’s workplace, your employees do have “issues”. Your employees have them more than ever in the past. And smart employers are beginning to understand that they should invest in programs and services that promote a psychologically healthy workplace as healthy employees produce healthy businesses. What are some easy things that you can do to start addressing these issues in your office? Consider the following tips:
- Look for and recognize warning signs. When one of your employees is dealing with an issue, there are always early indicators such as missed work time or diminished performance.
- Don’t play therapist. Set a professional boundary with your employees. You can show concern and empathy for their issues but don’t turn work time into a therapy session. If you get too involved, it will make it harder to performance manage them later.
- Proactively encourage professional help and use resources like your Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Let your employees know you recognize there is an issue and, because you are concerned for their well-being, that they should utilize resources available to them to help address stress and mental health related problems. Small issues can turn into big office challenges so get involved early. Encourage employees to take care of themselves and refer to your EAP, if you have one. EAPs are set up to address and resolve these type of employee issues so you, as the employer, don’t have to. EAPs provide 24/7 hotline support and short-term counseling options.
- Don’t have an EAP? Consider setting one up. The investment may be as low as a few hundred dollars a month and you’ll be providing your employees with the support they need while protecting your bottom line.
Miami Payroll Center partners with CCA, Inc, a national EAP provider that has administered these programs for over 30 years. If you have questions about this article or want more information about how to set up an EAP at your company, contact our team at (305) 273-4066 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.