META is hosting a free one day conference to help both employers and employees learn how to face these difficulties head on, in order to support the well-being of companies and the people that make them work.

EVENT DETAILS

Date: Feb 27, 2020

Time: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

Location: Travelodge Belleville

RSVP: https://metaservices.ca/mental-wellness/

As the global conversation about mental health continues to be on the rise, the involvement of employers in the wellbeing of their employees has never been more pressing.

Each year, $20 billion of potential GDP is lost due to workplace productivity issues. Mental health issues alone cost business nearly $1,500 per employee on an annual basis, contributing to the whopping $50 billion in loss to the Canadian economy from mental health issues over all.

When left undiagnosed, unrecognized and untreated, mental wellness issues establish roadblocks to the success of a business. These can affect the financial stability, the legal defendability, and the human capital perspectives of a company, each to varying degrees.

It is imperative that, moving forward, businesses begin to safeguard the health and wellbeing of their workers, not only to protect those people from common concerns such as stress, burnout, and poor work-life balance, but to ensure that as employers they are doing due diligence to protect the stability of the company itself that houses these employees.

There are many reasonable justifications for why a business may fail to take action on mental health: cost, perceived weight of responsibility, privacy and legal concerns, or simply a lack of knowing what to do.

Knowing what to do when addressing mental health in a professional setting is not always intuitive. Furthermore, according to a survey conducted by Mental Health Works, only a third of managers have had mental health training. That said, 81% still cited they are comfortable talking to their employees about their mental wellbeing. On the other hand, regardless of training or confidence for management, less than 30 percent of employees felt that their managers were knowledgeable about mental health.

What we’re going to look at today are some of the key considerations for employers that wish to a) make mental wellness a manageable issue in the workplace for both the employer and employees, and b) protect their company from the considerable loss that can arise out of putting this issue on the backburner.

Learning to spot an invisible illness

The first step in addressing mental wellness in the workplace is learning how to spot the symptoms. At least 20% of Canadians will suffer from mental health issues during their lifetime (a number which may be even higher, as it only accounts for those who sought support). This overshadows the number of people living with heart disease and type 2 diabetes COMBINED.

Unlike physical disease, the symptoms of mental illness are not so easy to see. Many employers will track performance metrics as an indication that something could be wrong. One of the top statistics pertains to tardiness and absenteeism in the workplace. Each day, approximately 500,000 Canadians will miss work for mental health reasons. Other patterns to watch for are steep drops in productivity by otherwise industrious employees.

And while retroactive inspection into whether or not a mental health epidemic may be affecting your business, sometimes the best way to diagnose if there is an issue is through proactively looking for Psychosocial Risk Factors (PSRs)

PSRs are numerous. They are hazards in the workplace which affect the mental health of employees, the same way physical hazards can harm them physically. 

Recently, the Canadian Mental Health Association found that the top factors Canadian workers believe need to be addressed to improve mental health in their workplace are:

• Work overload/demands

• Challenges with work-life balance

• A lack of trust in leadership

• A lack of transparency and honesty

• A lack of support/tools 

Create a safe reporting and support seeking system

Besides performing your own investigation into your workplace, it is of absolute importance that you establish a welcoming reporting structure, and clear pathways to support systems, for employees that either suffer from mental health issues, or wish to report on hazards that may be affecting the wellbeing of themselves and their coworkers.

As of today, only 40% of businesses in Canada have implemented a formal strategy for employee health and wellbeing. Often times, this may be over concern at cost and delays to productivity when forming committees or providing employee resources. However, this is simply a myth. The benefits of creating a support network for employees will always far outweigh the bottom line costs.

Pros of promoting health in both mind and body include:

  • Reduced health care and insurance costs
  • Increased morale
  • Increased productivity
  • Avoidance of legal challenges
  • Attraction/Retention of top talent

Cons of not supporting wellness in the workplace include:

  • Increased rates of illness
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Increased tardiness
  • Greater tension and moore conflicts between colleagues
  • Deteriorating performance
  • Reduced morale
  • More disciplinary actions taken

Companies that implement health and wellness programs have proven themselves to save approximately 1.5 to 1.7 days in absenteeism per worker over the course of a year, which translates to an average of $251 per employee annually.

Furthermore, there is a huge need to create inroads for employees seeking support. Research shows only 23% of Canadian employees would be comfortable talking to their employer and a mental health issue. And more than a quarter feel that it would jeopardize their career.

From the company’s perspective, 80% of Ontario businesses agree it is just as important to invest in mental health as physical health. The same percentage of businesses agree

that their organization’s success is dependent on their employees’ health and well-being. However, only 38 percent believe that an insurance benefits plan alone is sufficient

investment in employee health and wellness. This means implementing a standalone health and wellness program with continuous goal management, reporting, and inspections is paramount to addressing the growing concern of mental health issues in the workplace.

Resources for employers

It is clearly shown here that the tax to the Canadian economy caused by lack of support for, and the disruption to production due to mental health issues, is staggering. Depression alone rings up a 32.3 billion loss, and anxiety dropping Canada another $17.3 billion in GDP annually.

Whether you’re a small business, or a large-scale organization, these losses will trickle down to you if you aren’t making mental wellness a priority. That said, you don’t have to go it alone.

Many resources exist outside this article to help you, as an employer, protect the interests of your employees and your business when it comes to mental wellbeing. META can help you connect to what you need.

META is hosting a free one day conference to help both employers and employees learn how to face these difficulties head on, in order to support the well-being of companies and the people that make them work.

Our Annual Mental Wellness in the Workplace Conference provides opportunities for:

  • Connecting people with the resources and support personnel they need in the Quinte and surrounding areas
  • Providing education and insightful knowledge from keynote speakers and experienced professionals
  • Networking between community partners, employers, and local residents to further discussion on mental wellness in the workplace

The conference will feature dynamic and engaging keynote speakers along with breakout sessions related to matters of mental wellness in the workplace. Admission is completely free, simply RSVP with us to secure your spot.

EVENT DETAILS

Date: Feb 27, 2020

Time: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

Location: Travelodge Belleville

RSVP: https://metaservices.ca/mental-wellness/

Belleville Office

Unit 8, 161 Bridge Street W. 
Belleville, ON K8P 1K2

Phone: 613-966-9069
Toll Free: 1-888-401-9636
Fax: 613-966-7357

Marmora Office

10 Forsyth Street
Marmora, ON

Phone: 613-966-9069
Toll Free: 1-888-401-9636
Fax: 613-966-7357