World Mental Health Day 2017: 10th October 2017
The WHO theme this year is “Mental health in the workplace.”
The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM is one of the apex trade associations of India) study released last year disclosed that 42.5 percent of corporate employees in India suffer from depression. With as much as 45-50-% of corporate employees suffering from depression in a study conducted over 8 years across 150 companies in all major metro cities in India, its time organizationsshould take employee wellness seriously and bringing it to the forefront.
A staggering 38.5% of corporate employees sleep less than 6 hours citing high stress level due to almost threatening targets set by employers, causing anxiety, depression, hypertension, diabetes, poor concentration etc. Over 23% of sample population accounted for obesity, showed signs of bodyimage issues and combatting psychological and life threatening like anorexia and bulimia.
Mental Health impact on Organizations
The Total organizational productivity loss every year in IT/ITES adds up to INR.49.67 Cr; 105.48 Cr in BFSI and 10.5Cr in Hospitality (CGP Indian Study along with PWC). As per WHO, Stress at workplace is cogitated as the Number 1 health risk factor globally, deterring workforce engagement and culture of the organization.
Nearly Six in 10 people say poor mental health impacts their concentration at work and estimates indicate that nearly 70 million works days are lost each year in the UK because of poor mental health.
Each year organizations lose about 14 % of their workday productivity owing to employee health issues; the report also suggests if the organization works towards reducing at least one health risk can potentially increase overall employee’s productivity by 9 percent and cut absenteeism by 2 percent.
Current Employee Health and wellness programs
Most organizational attempts to ensure focus on employee health is very disintegrated and skewed. A dedicated week or a month on employee wellness, with assorted initiatives peaking during this phase; which most CHRO’s admitted that these assorted list of initiatives fail to address the root cause of the stress and mental health issues. A round the clock holistic wellness program is the need of the hour as stress and mental health issues are proving to be a serious contender and should be one of the top priority for the organization.
Challenges in implementing wellness programs:
- ROI on wellness initiatives are difficult to measure since the factors that causes stress and mental health issues are very dynamic
- Wellness initiative deployment across various locations and geographies can be painstakingly difficult as many employees especially IT/ITES are either working from home or out of client site.
- Employee’s mindset can be a major deterrent in the success of the initiative. Health is mostly not on the radar of younger age group. Their keenness and readiness to participate in the wellness program is not very encouraging, especially if the program is offered for free by the organization.
- The line managers are also a crucial factor for the success of the initiative as conflicting priorities between the clients and managers always pushes wellness programs to back burner.
- Lack of awareness amongst the employees about their own health needs and concerns
Changing perception of Employee wellness programs:
- Organisation must look at more holistic and round the year approach mechanisms towards wellness rather than a seasonal or flavor of the month approach.
- Disregarding the one size fits all approach and design more personalized Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). EAP’s globally have been proven to be effective in addressing mental health and stress related issues. EAP studies in USA suggests, Just $1 of investment in treatment for depression and anxiety leads to a return of $4 in better health and ability to work.
- Encouraging employees to offer suggestions to enhance the workplace environment to improve overall well-being. Line manager play a fundamental role in the employee’s overall workplace experience and stress management. Essentially aligning the workplace environment with wellness program goals
- Instituting formal health and wellness strategy with specified goals and objectives that effectively communicates the Employee Value Proposition, and customizing it to critical workforce segments and thereby using organizational analytics to measure the ROI of the program and also key drivers for sustainable healthy behaviors.
- Using technology to address the difficulty in deployment of wellness programs at multi-location and varied time-zone. Engage with EAP online services platform that offer counselling, coaching, mentoring and other specialized services 24/7.
- Online EAP services are a great solution to the current wellness woes of the organisations. EAP addresses complete employee wellbeing offering specialized services as mental health program, performance coaching, diets and nutrition, personalized finance consulting and assistance, pregnancy and post pregnancy assistance programs, behavioral assistance programs, critical incident handling and assistance services etc.
Café Counsel Employee Assistance Program (CEAP) is one of kind and first EAP in India, which not only supports the employee of the organisation but also extends the benefits of the program to the immediate co-dependent of the employee like spouse, siblings, children and parents.
“In a challenging economic scenario, where companies are stretched to balance costs and maximize productivity, employers need to identify specific triggers that impact employee wellness, engagement and in turn productivity,”AnuradhaSriram, Towers Watson India Director, Benefits.
Most organisations generally focus on employees’ physical well-being and Mental health either is completely blind-sided or ignored. In the todays VUCA times, Mental-health is completely relevant and needs immediate attention.
The elephant in the room is staring at most of us, its time Organizations address it before it’s too late. Our founder Lakshmi Sreenivasan looks upon CEAP as the lead Programs, you can explore more about CEAP here or write to us on, firstname.lastname@example.org