Why we need to talk about mental wellbeing at work

30 October 2023

It's a surprising fact: while work-related topics are easier to discuss with our employers than private events, the same cannot be said for our mental wellbeing. A 2021 survey by Mensura and Certimed reveals that 7 in 10 people feel comfortable talking to their manager or counselor, but 4 in 10 individuals struggle to discuss stress and workload. Only 14% of employees feel they can openly address their mental wellbeing at work.

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The significance of discussing mental wellbeing

The cost of a stressed employee averages around 4,000 euros per year. In contrast, individuals who enjoy good mental wellbeing demonstrate greater adaptability and resilience in coping with challenges, resulting in enhanced productivity. To prioritize mental wellbeing within an organisation, the first step is to make it a regular topic of discussion.

The value of conversation

Engaging in discussions about mental wellbeing fosters mental resilience and self-awareness, enabling individuals to reach their full potential more rapidly. Normalizing these conversations through shared stories and experiences creates a sense of recognition, emotional relief, and a deeper understanding of one's thoughts. Unsure how to handle certain emotions? Listening to others' experiences in overcoming similar challenges can be a valuable learning experience.

Elevated productivity

Poor mental wellbeing not only carries substantial costs but also negatively impacts productivity within organisations. Employees experiencing mental distress often struggle to communicate effectively and may exhibit impatience, leading to misunderstandings and exaggerated reactions. Such individuals tend to have lower energy, diminished focus, and difficulty making decisions due to persistent distractions. According to a Mental Health Foundation study, a person with good mental health can be 12% more productive than someone with compromised mental health. This translates to 12% more work accomplished for the same cost, equating to an annual savings of 6,600 euros per employee. This financial benefit is complemented by the employee's enhanced wellbeing.

Fostering connections among employees

Understanding the reasons behind emotional reactions or irritability in colleagues promotes better teamwork and collaboration. This deeper understanding naturally forges stronger connections and greater engagement, contributing to a positive workplace environment and reducing turnover. Enhancing employee engagement within your organisation can be further achieved with practical guidance from HR managers across various industries.

Intervening at the right time

Taking the initiative to seek mental support can be challenging for someone who's not feeling well. This challenge diminishes when individuals feel safe discussing their concerns and believe that others are genuinely listening. In an environment where conversations about mental wellbeing are commonplace, employees are more likely to share their feelings, whether positive or negative. Consequently, HR managers and team leaders gain valuable insights into the mental states of their employees, enabling timely intervention or referrals when necessary.