1 in 5 people are impacted by mental health problems (Read our discussion paper) every year in Australia. That means that at least 1 in 5 of your employees will either experiencing a full blown mental health crisis, or an unidentified one.
This is well known to impact on productivity, absenteeism, presenteeism, workplace injuries and accidents, and team morale.
Not only that, but the expense of these problems to Australian businesses has been identified as up to $3.6 billion every year. The average psychological injury claim itself costs $250,000.
When compared to the tax on time and money, a business with a solid Workplace Wellness Strategy makes good financial and human sense.
Many businesses are now implementing a Workplace Wellness Strategy as part of, or alongside, their Workplace Health & Safety plan. But a Workplace Wellness Strategy doesn’t always come easily. What are the essential elements of a Workplace Wellness Strategy?
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This week we look at the first essential element……
Essential Element #1: EDUCATION
Education is absolutely vital, and is usually the first place to start.
A good Workplace Wellness strategy includes training in mental health and workplace wellness for all staff, as well as specialist education for leaders.
Traditionally, organisations have not made themselves responsible for the mental and emotional wellbeing of staff. In fact as a society, we have very poor mental health literacy. So before a Workplace Wellness Strategy can really be developed and implemented, organisations, and the individuals within them need to educate themselves about mental health.
The whole team, but especially the leaders, need to understand how the human brain works and what will hinder or promote wellness within the team. Gone are the days when bosses didn’t need to know anything about psychology. This generation has higher expectations of support from their leaders. Leaders have to be well prepared, in order to have the stamina necessary to meet the new expectations of their workers.
By providing education in mental health and workplace wellness, leaders of an organisation are also sending the message that this conversation is not only acceptable, but welcomed within the culture of the company.
But is education enough? We don’t think so. Stay tuned for the next essential element for your Workplace Wellness Strategy
“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance” Harvard President Derek Bok