The preventative approach: the cost of ignoring employee health

Mental and physical health has never been more important. The current climate suggests that we are moving into a time where health is a necessity, not a nice to have. Employers should look at a wellbeing intervention as taking a preventative approach (vs. a prescriptive one) to employee health.

Highlights

In a three-year study of global employees, health and wellness issues led to a 58% increase in depression, a 74% boost in anxiety, and a 28% rise in stress

Workplace Options

Poor mental health costs UK employers up to £45 billion each year. This is a rise of 16% since 2016 - an extra £6 billion a year

Deloitte

Workplace physical activity and yoga programmes are associated with a significant reduction in depressive symptoms and anxiety

Oxford Academic

Employee mental health is an issue that impacts the ultimate success of every business on the planet. And a new analysis of three years’ worth of global EAP data shows a dramatic increase in the number of employees who are reporting serious mental and emotional health concerns.

How ignoring health and wellness drain the bottom line

In a three-year study of global employees, health and wellness issues led to a 58% increase in depression, a 74% boost in anxiety, and a 28% rise in stress.

A new analysis by Deloitte finds that poor mental health costs UK employers up to £45 billion each year. This is a rise of 16% since 2016 – an extra £6 billion a year.

The research also looks at how employers can tackle this problem, finding that it pays to support employees’ mental health. On average, for every £1 spent on supporting their people’s mental health, employers get £5 back on their investment in reduced presenteeism, absenteeism and staff turnover.

Costs are driven largely by ‘presenteeism’

The latest research builds on work conducted by Deloitte in 2017 for the Stevenson-Farmer Review on workplace mental health, which calculated that poor mental health cost UK employers £33-42 billion a year.

A yearlong telephone survey of 29,000 working adults, dubbed the American Productivity Audit—Stewart’s research team calculated the total cost of presenteeism in the United States to be more than $150 billion per year. Furthermore, most studies confirm that presenteeism is far more costly than illness-related absenteeism or disability. The two Journal of the American Medical Association studies, for example, found that the on-the-job productivity loss resulting from depression and pain was roughly three times greater than the absence-related productivity loss attributed to these conditions.

The preventative approach, then, is to provide employees with solutions to manage and improve their own health and wellbeing inside and outside of the office. The study Do workplace physical activity interventions improve mental health outcomes? conducted through Oxford Academic’s Occupational Medicine concluded that Workplace physical activity and yoga programmes are associated with a significant reduction in depressive symptoms and anxiety, respectively.

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