Did you know absenteeism costs the Australian economy $44 billion per annum? According to a survey by the Australian HR Institute, Australian employees take on average 8.8 unscheduled days off per year. All these sickies are contributing to lost productivity and come at a cost to both your employee’s mental health and the success of your business.
If you’re a small business owner these sick days can add an extra $578 per employee, per absence to your bottom line.
One of the main causes of absenteeism is stress and depression. A Medibank Private report suggests a total of 3.2 days per year per worker is lost due to workplace stress. So how can you make sure that your workplace is supportive of your employees’ mental health?
Take a closer look and the figures tell a story of people feeling overwhelmed and undervalued. Putting the dollar and cents aside, there is also a human cost. The good news is early intervention and support can make a difference. According to Jessica Everitt, Senior Talent Manager at Employsure, productivity losses are halved when employees with mental health conditions seek early intervention or treatment.
Everitt tells Kochie’s Business Builders, the attitudes of business owners, managers and peers are instrumental in ensuring people get help when they need it.
“With international figures showing people would be unlikely to disclose a mental health condition to their employer for fear of repercussions, there’s a pressing need to eradicate stigma and discrimination, whilst ensuring we reach out and support our colleagues when it’s needed.”
Yet creating a supportive workplace culture is easier than you think. It can be as simple as encouraging employees to speak up if they have issues.
It’s also vital small business owners consider their mental health. A recent study by Ondeck found 95 per cent of small business owners stay in work mode even on vacation. While one in two small business owners haven’t taken a break from their business in over six months.
The health and wellbeing of small business owners are often closely linked to the success of their business. If an owner is burning the candle at both ends, the business will suffer. Business owners need to make a point to take time out to recharge their batteries too.
Thankfully help can be just a Skype call away. Digital technology is changing how we can access mental health care. According to a paper from the Black Dog Institute, the rise of fast speed internet has made treatments accessible to more people than ever before.
Gold standard care can now be made available to people in isolated areas unable to attend face-to-face appointments. According to Black Dog, mental health tools can work better when they are mobile and accessible 24/7.
You can now use your smartphone to test yourself for stress levels, engage with an online treatment program or obtain real-time crisis counselling. In fact, harnessing technology allows even businesses far from the big smoke to gain access to the care they need.
Want more tips on creating a healthy workplace? Check out this story.