What makes a healthy workplace? Is it the physical layout of the office, the corporate culture in action, or the number of health initiatives in place?
While all of these play can play a crucial role in keeping staff members in the best condition, the Australian Psychological Society (APS) is urging organisations to consider the part that mental health and wellbeing plays as well.
In June, the organisation is launching their new 'Heads Up' campaign, which is designed to help workplaces across Australia support their employees wellbeing. The cost of ignoring this crucial area can affect both workers and employers, so it makes sense to do what you can to create a psychologically healthy culture within your workplace.
According to research cited by the APS, stress-related illnesses are a drain of around $14.81 billion on the Australian economy each year. Specifically, the organisation estimates that $10.1 billion is lost as a result of absenteeism and presenteeism (going to work while sick) related to stress.
In contrast, companies can reap many benefits from a successful intervention plan. Further research from PricewaterhouseCoopers shows companies that invest in these strategies can more than double the initial expense by reducing the level of absenteeism, presenteeism and compensation claims.
The APS believes there are six key indicators of psychological health, all of which can influence employee stress and overall wellbeing. These include supportive leadership, role clarity, staff engagement, development and growth, morale and workplace stress.
"It is important that organisations understand their role in creating a positive culture and psychologically healthy workplace and that a top down approach is required, starting with leaders," said APS Executive Director Professor Lyn Littlefield.
"Leaders need to clearly communicate their expectations to staff, provide recognition of their employees' contribution and ensure they understand how their role fits within the bigger picture."
Along with your corporate health insurance plan, a well-rounded approach to supporting employee health can provide benefits for your organisation and the workforce as a whole. Implementing these strategies for better mental health can help create a more positive workplace environment.
The APS has an evidence-based Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program (PHWP) available to help organisations provide more support for employees' psychological health. It involves assessing the six indicators above in order to make recommendations tailored to the company's needs.
"This is a key issue for organisations as a healthy, happy, well-functioning workforce is a productive workforce," Professor Littlefield said.