Yes! Your continued Mental Health is worth your employer investing in!
At last Mental Health in the workplace seems to moving up on the agenda. The ‘Thriving at Work’ paper published today, suggests employers have not only a duty of care to their employees but cannot afford to ignore the costs of mental health in relation to productivity in the workplace. The key points for employers are that issues around Mental Health are costing the employer between £33 – £42 Billion a year! Deloitte’s analysis states that where investment is made in improving mental health – there is a consistent return of around £9.98 for each £1 spent.
I believe putting Mental Health on the workplace agenda is also about becoming a more COMPASSIONATE workplace. A workplace in which, there is empathy towards individuals in caring for them emotionally as well as physically. This raises the individuals’ ability to cope and deal with their pain. It is worth noting that workplace stress can be a culmination of stresses within and outside the workplace, culminating in an employee being unable to work effectively.
The practice of mindfulness has been shown to lead to an improvement to an individual’s health and mental well-being. Regular meditators have increased mental and physical stamina, including self-regulation of emotions (Lykins & Baer, 2009). The field of neuroscience supports this.
A mindfulness based intervention in the workplace, which includes self care (compassion), can have positive effects on burnout, well-being and stress. Mindfulness with compassionate practices in the workplace have been shown to reduce levels of anxiety and develop positive emotions and positive interpersonal interactions (Lilius et al, 2008), thus raising the individuals’ ability to cope and deal with their pain. Compassionate practices encourage an increase in an individual’s commitment and feeling of connectivity with others in the organisation, and increased commitment to the mission of the organization.
Whilst a workplace culture can damage an individuals sense of confidence and sense of self (Dutton, et al 2014), alternatively compassionate practice in the workplace can bring about a sense of being valued, and a sense of worth. Responding more compassionately at work can also lead to greater personal satisfaction from helping others (Dutton et al, 2014).
For the employer, the evidence above would suggest it is worth the investment in looking after your people and having a healthier happier workplace, where employee retention is high and absenteeism is low.
For the individual, yes this is a challenge and in some organisation it requires a change of culture. In the meantime, we all have to take some responsibility and look after our own mental health.
Click to find out more about how Mindfulness at Work can help you.
Thriving at Work Report ~ An independent review of mental health and employers by Lord Dennis Stevenson and Paul Farmer.
Published 26th October 2017
DUTTON, J., E., WORKMAN, K., M., and HARDING,A.,E., (2014). Compassion at Work, Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behaviour, 1, pp. 277-304.
LILUS, J., M.,WORLINE,M.,C., MAITLIS, S., KANOV, J., DUTTON, J.,E., and FROST, P., (2008). The contours and consequences of compassion at work. Journal of Organizational Behaviour. 29, pp.193-218
LYKINS., E., L., B., and BAER., R.,A.,(2009). Psychological Functioning in a Sample of Long-Term Practitioners Of Mindfulness Meditation. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy. 23 (3),pp.226-241.