As a result of research undertaken by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on mental wellbeing in the workplace, guidance has been produced on promoting mental wellbeing through productive and healthy working conditions.
NICE states that mental wellbeing is a dynamic state in which the individual is able to develop their potential, work productively and creatively, build strong and positive relationships with others and contribute to their community. It is enhanced when an individual is able to fulfil their personal and social goals and achieve a sense of purpose in society
NICE advises that although it is not possible to quantify on the direct costs and savings to employers by implementing this guidance, evidence suggests that investment in healthy working practices and the health and wellbeing of employees improves productivity and is cost effective for business and wider society.
The cost of mental health to employers is significant: estimated at £25.9 billion in 2006 or £28.3 billion at 2009 pay levels.
The main causes of long term sickness absence (defined as a continuous period of absence from work lasting 4 weeks or more) among manual workers are acute medical conditions, followed by back pain, musculoskeletal conditions, stress and mental health problems (chartered institute of personnel and development CIPD 2008)
Among non manual workers, stress is the number 1 cause of long term sickness absence, followed by acute medical conditions, mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, musculoskeletal conditions and back pain (CIPD 2008).
Evidence also suggests that mental ill health may result in presenteeism rather than absenteeism where employees may be concerned by the stigma related to mental ill health and attend work when they are unfit to do so.
In the USA Goetzel et al (2004) reported that productivity losses through presenteeism associated with mental health are 5.1 times the equivalent losses resulting from absenteeism.
As companies are faced with these daunting facts, organisations like glo wellbeing are offering affordable solutions to help employees maintain a healthy mental attitude at work via a range of complementary health modalities honed to the workplace. glo’s clients can choose from: onsite massage, acupuncture, life coaching, reflexology, nutrition and stress management to create wellbeing programmes that support their staff physically and mentally.
Research released by the Mental Health Foundation has found that:
Massage has been shown to reduce levels of anxiety, stress and depression in some people.
Reflexology has been shown to aid relaxation, relieve stress and restore energy. It can help to reduce the side-effects of psychotropic medication and can moderate the highs and lows of mood swings.
Research into nutritional and dietary medicine has demonstrated that food sensitivities may cause psychiatric symptoms, whilst a lack of folic acid has been associated with depression and schizophrenia and the supplementation of certain amino acids has been shown to relieve depression.
Acupuncture can have a positive effect for some people diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Transcendental Meditation, hypnotherapy, yoga, exercise, relaxation, massage and aromatherapy have all been shown to have some effect in reducing stress, tension and anxiety and in alleviating mental distress.
With this plethora of treatments available for organisations to utilise onsite therapies in their office, there is hope that companies will take the appropriate measures to support their staff as well as their bottom line.