Why Promoting Employees’ Mental Wellbeing is Good for Business

Entrepreneurs know very well what job stress means. However, employees might experience it at unfathomable levels. Experts in mental health warn that job stress can lead to employees’ depression, anxiety disorders, and burnout. In turn, such employee issues can cost employers a lot of money and a lot of stress, as turnover skyrockets. Promoting employee mental wellbeing in the workplace can only do your business good. Let’s find out how!

Allow employees break

The Problem: Job Stress Generates Personal and Financial Losses

According to reports, depression in the workplace has an enormous economic impact. Specialists say that it costs American society over $200 billion each year. However, this is not the cost to treat the disorder. For every dollar spent with recovery, we lose around $5 on the direct and indirect damages of the related illnesses. We also lose almost $2 because of lower workplace productivity, sick days, employee turnover, and more. 

Doing nothing costs more than promoting a mental wellbeing environment in the workplace. A grave issue is that most employees will hold back their feelings and current mental status. We all know jobs are stressful in general. Who pays attention to an overly stressed, exhausted, grumpy, and hopeless employee? Aren’t we all a bit unhappy?

Well, since employees fear the stigma of mental illness, they will most likely try to push themselves into pretending they are alright. Despite this, they keep suffering on the inside until they reach the breaking point. 

Job stress (masked or not) usually translates into:

  • Unhappiness and disengagement;
  • Burnout;
  • Days and days of time off;
  • Loss of productivity;
  • Resignations;
  • Injuries;
  • Neurological diseases;
  • Cardiovascular diseases, etc. 

Emotional distress associated with job stress can take many forms, depending on the individuals. Legally speaking, these five symptoms might warrant a lawsuit against an employer:

  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disorders
  • Panic attacks
  • Headaches
  • Irritability

As we said, employees may hide these symptoms. Some experience somatization – the physical expression of mental stress. In turn, they can lead to:

  • lack of focus and attention,
  • memory difficulties,
  • poor body coordination,
  • proneness to accidents and injuries in the workplace, and more. 

As an employer, the worse your employees feel, the worse you will fare as a business. In addition to the loss of productivity, you will have to deal with:

  • days off,
  • resignations,
  • and even lawsuits.

It is vital to pay attention to how your employees feel and behave. Asking them is not a wise choice. Most people will hide the truth out of shame or fear of repercussions. 

Promoting an environment of trust, openness, and honesty at the workplace will keep your people more engaged, happier, willing to stay by your side.

Can an Employee Sue You for Emotional Distress?

Lawyers often get this question from disgruntled employees: can you sue someone for emotional distress? With enough evidence, an attorney can prove that a company was negligent regarding an employee’s mental health. In this case, the answer is “yes.” 

Employers are open to emotional distress lawsuits if they decide to do nothing about their employees’ stress levels and overall mental wellbeing. On the occasion of a car crash, things are simple. In vehicular accident cases, emotional distress makes up part of a personal injury claim. But how about the workplace?

In our culture and legal system, emotional distress may be hard to prove, but not impossible. Even if you did not break the letter of the law, you might be at fault for negligence, unethical conduct, unreasonable behaviors, and so on. 

Remember that we work in a world where corporations are the enemy. More and more people blame companies for ruining peoples’ lives physically and mentally. If corporate behemoths can and will displace a small army of lawyers to defend their interests, small businesses may not have that chance. 

Why open yourself to emotional distress lawsuits? Why get your good name mudded? Why battle against your people (who probably helped you grow that business), and lose time, reputation, and money at the end? 

Instead, you can promote a healthy and open mental environment for your employees (and yourself). There are many ways to maintain mental health in the workplace, and they come with many benefits.

  • Your business becomes a place that can retain talent. Wouldn’t it be a shame to lose A-Class employees only because you neglected their stress levels?
  • Reduce stigma and promote a positive and safe working environment. It will help you in recruiting the talent you need to grow your business. 
  • This is what you get by preserving and enhancing the mental health of your employees: better decision-making, critical thinking, workflow, and relationships. All translate into a stronger workforce and better business. 
  • Provide concrete measures to improve employees’ mental wellbeing. Think about benefits plans, wellness counseling, therapy sessions, meetings, etc. You invest in your business. The minds you work with are your most valuable assets. Just as you cover your company’s assets, you should make sure you protect the brains behind your success. 
  • Focus on early intervention and burnout/job stress prevention programs. They cost less than dealing with such problems post-factum.
  • Invest in a mentally healthy workplace. It saves you money in the end. It helps you reduce absenteeism, the risks of distractions, and potential injuries.
  • A smart business will also put itself outside the risk of disability claims and legal exposure.

As an entrepreneur, you should know that enhancing mental wellbeing in the workplace is always the right thing to do. 

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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