Article

Workplace mental health and wellbeing

At a tipping point?

March 2017

With greater public awareness, political interest and transparency around the importance of good workplace mental health and wellbeing, more and more employers are reviewing their activities in this space. Yet despite this positive trend, many employers are still facing numerous challenges in implementing effective mental health and wellbeing strategies.

New research from the Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions places workplace mental health and wellbeing at a tipping point, with employers increasingly reviewing their activities in supporting employee mental health and wellbeing. Recognising the costs of poor mental health and wellbeing on today’s workforce, the report is designed as a call to action for employers, whatever their current performance regarding mental health and wellbeing strategies.

Key findings

  • Progress towards greater awareness and recognition of mental health is occurring at a slower rate in the workplace, compared to conversations occurring in public spaces more generally 
  • Costs associated with poor mental health and wellbeing result from absence costs, from presenteeism and turnover costs, as well as from staff that is not fully enthusiastic and engaged due to low mental wellbeing
  • Greater public awareness, increasing political attention and an increased emphasis on employer responsibilities are driving an increased interest in workplace mental health and wellbeing.

Five key implementation challenges for employers

  1. Failure to see mental health and wellbeing as a priority
  2. Mental health and wellbeing policies are reactive and driven by staff events or experience
  3. Lack of insight around current performance
  4. Poor evidence base to measure return on investment of wellbeing strategies
  5. Lack of collective knowledge around best practice.

Key actions for employers

  • Get workplace mental health and wellbeing on the agenda
  • Take stock and monitor performance
  • Create buy-in for the case for change and investment
  • Implement key initiatives adapted for specific workforce challenges and demographics
  • Evaluate programmes and communicate successes
  • Encourage employees to support colleagues.

About the report

The impetus for this report was the insight Deloitte gained in working with one of our charity partners, the mental health charity Mind, and its Workplace Wellbeing team. This included helping them to develop the Mind Workplace Wellbeing Index (launched in Sept 2016 and first results announced on 28 March 2017).

Further insights were provided by working on a number of key projects on both mental and physical health in the workplace; including projects with occupational and corporate health providers over the past five years.

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