Does Better Mental Health Mean Better Business?

Creating a Proactive Employee Mental Health Plan

The impact of mental health and overall emotional wellbeing touches every part of our lives, including the workplace. In fact, focusing on better mental health in business can have an extremely positive impact on employee productivity while lowering healthcare and other costs.

Today, we’re going to break this idea down further while looking at some examples of businesses that have made their employees’ mental health a priority. Whether you’re a business owner or an employee, my hope is that you’ll feel inspired to prioritize mental health not just at home, but also at the office.


Businesses that encourage taking care of mental health

One of the most well-known examples of a large company that takes care of the mental health of their team members is Virgin. Employees can get massages at work, take a paid-for meditation course, and are encouraged to be honest about their mental health.

As mental health issues like anxiety and depression become more common and problematic, it makes sense to promote activities and initiatives that help alleviate symptoms. If you’re feeling depressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, you aren’t going to perform at your peak when you come into the office.


Focusing on employee mental health saves money

In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that every U.S. dollar invested in mental health treatment has the potential to quadruple returns in work productivity.

According to the article from Virgin that I first shared, a Unilever project in Brazil reported savings of $1,200 per person when they invested in mental health and wellness. Another example came from Uplevel Global — they tried a “Happiness Advantage” where the entire team focused on happiness and gratitude for 28 days. It was a potentially costly risk, but several people said their lives were quite literally changed. The business also had three months of record-breaking KPI success.

When mental wellness suffers, businesses suffer from lost productivity, sick days, and staff turnover. You don’t have to own or work for a large business with fancy yoga rooms to improve mental health in business, either.


How all businesses can focus on bettering mental health

Sometimes, it’s as simple as starting a conversation. Talking about mental health issues is often shunned, but it shouldn’t be — nearly everyone you know has struggled in some way.

If you manage a team or are in some sort of leadership position, you’re already in a great place to get the dialogue started. Even saying, “Wow, I’m feeling down today,” or, “This deadline is making me feel really anxious,” can start tearing down walls around these sensitive topics.

Other ideas that can be implemented in the workplace include:

Mental health is an ongoing process without a destination. But, when businesses and employees make it a priority, the entire company benefits.


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