Caring for Employee Mental Health: Increased Productivity/Profit

Who among us hasn’t worked in a stressful environment? An environment where there wasn’t a spare moment to recharge your mind? 

During my nonprofit career, while barely making a living wage, I was often expected to promptly reply to texts and emails at all hours on my personal cellphone. I’ve been screamed and cursed at in front of coworkers and told to cancel doctor’s appointments while pregnant to attend last minute work meetings. Unfortunately, I doubt this is the exception.

Research indicates that it lowers morale, increases stress levels for workers and greatly reduces productivity as well as profits globally. According the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the three top European countries for hours worked, Greece, Poland, and Hungary, are ranked last for productivity. 

Are you ready for the GOOD NEWS? Employers who militantly overwork their employees are considered antiquated and unconcerned about profitability. 35% of large and mid-size businesses in the U.S offer stress-reduction programs. Many promote work-life balance, encouraging employees to disconnect after hours, take 2-3 week vacations, and take lunches away from their desks. Some top Fortune 500 companies offer bonuses for employees who use all of their vacation time, take their allocated days off to volunteer, and disconnect. Other companies offer onsite yoga, meditation, or wellness programs.

You might ask, why would a business encourage employees to work less? Because more studies show that productivity AND profit is attributable to quality of time working NOT quantity of time working. 

According to the World Health Organization, “workplaces that promote mental health and support people with mental disorders are more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and benefit from associated economic gains.” 

Alternatively employers that do not implement stress-reduction programs to promote mental health and encourage work-life balance will suffer from a whopping 65% of employees being distracted 31-50 hours a week while at work! That number is astounding, but I believe it. I admit to spending time crying in the bathroom after being verbally abused by a supervisor -not exactly the most productive behavior.

During mental health month, we encourage all employers to do what we’ve always known to be the right thing – be kind. When you treat your employees kindly, they treat you well. Businesses want their employees to have a vested interest in the company’s success.

Kindness goes a long way folks – for mental health AND profits!