This is the second time that Deloitte's have highlighted the false economy of not promoting good mental health.
One of the biggest accounting organisations in the world, Delloite, in collaboration with Mind has set out the monetary costs of poor mental health to UK employers of up to £45 million. The report argues that if employers spend on their employees' mental welfare, for every £1 invested they will receive back £5 in reduced absenteeism and staff turnover.
Whether enough employers are taking this message on board is questionable, this is not the first report the accounting giants have published. They cite that the cost of poor mental health has risen by 16% (some £6billion) since 2016. The rise in mental distress is attributed to toxic work cultures of 'presenteeism', this means not only working long and unproductive hours but also working whilst unwell or not taking adequate time to recover from sickness, with Deloitte firmly linking the fall in sickness absence with a rise in poor mental health.
A hard look is also taken at how advances in technology are taking a toll on our stress levels by enabling an 'always on' work mode that contributes to burn out.
There is positive news in the report with the researchers finding that there was a shift in attitudes in the bigger firms with employees able to talk more openly about their Mental Health also concluding that there was more support available.
However, of great concern are the problems we are building up for the workforce of the future with the burden of poor mental health increasingly falling, and disproportionately so, on our young people. Using a measurement of pounds and pence costs per worker increase up to the age group of 30-39 peaking at £2,068 per person and declines down to £609 per person for those in the 60+ age bracket.
The public sector seems to fare better than the private sector shouldering mental costs of £9.0-£9.0bn respectively.
Overall there is an increase in workers succumbing to the downfalls of the 'gig economy' with little employer support, financial uncertainty and with little concern for worker wellbeing. An issue that we have raised at Mind for some time.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind said, 'Smart, forward-thinking employers are investing in staff well-being, and those who tend to do so save money in the long run. As presenteeism costs three time more than sick leave, we need to look at supporting employers, so their staff feel able to take time off when they are unwell. The government must also play its part by improving the definition of disability under the Equality Act, so that more people can benefit from it's rights and protections, as well as increasing the amount of statutory sick pay when they are off sick.'
Some good points but a long way to go to build a culture of mentally healthy workplaces.
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