Mind over matter

Karen Dawaf Harron | May 2018

Mental health in the workplace

2018’s Mental Health Awareness week is reaching its conclusion and one of this year’s key themes centres around stress in the workplace – a topic that is firmly on the political and economic agenda.

In January 2017, Theresa May commissioned a review into Mental Health in the workplace – and the findings were shocking. The poor mental health of employees costs UK employers between £33bn and £42bn a year whilst the cost to the UK economy as a whole is estimated at between £74bn and £99bn per annum caused by a combination of absenteeism, presenteeism and staff turnover. The sectors that are worst affected, with the highest per-employee annual cost, are finance, insurance and real estate.

So what is being done about it? Cue the evolution of wellness programmes that are designed to promote better health, improve productivity and reduce absenteeism. The global market for workplace wellness programmes is now worth an estimated $40bn with the majority based in the USA and in Europe.

As the market has grown so too has the emergence of wellness as a strategic necessity in its own right. Large corporates are increasingly recognising it as a key differentiator and around two thirds of organisations now state that wellbeing programs are a critical part of their employment brand and culture.

Increasing demand and investment has driven the need for new and innovative wellness initiatives. VirginPulse, for example, offers a suite of technology-driven solutions including an employee app that claims to “infuse wellbeing into the DNA of your organisation and empower your people to achieve success every day”. Similarly, Deloitte has developed its own app to help their professionals better manage their energy levels. 

With wellbeing firmly at the front and centre of the corporate world, this intense focus on mitigating the collateral consequences of workplace mental health issues can only accelerate the tempo of investment in programmes and solutions that address it and in acquiring the innovative service providers currently in the vanguard of this expanding sector.  

Sources: Thriving at Work, Stevenson-Farmer Independent Review, Global Wellness Institute 

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