Productivity v. Presenteeism

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On July 6, 2017 CEO Ben Congleton stated “It’s 2017. I cannot believe that it is still controversial to speak about mental health in the workplace when 1 in 6 americans are medicated for mental health.”

A colleague posted this story for comments on a professional forum today.   Therefore, today’s discussion centres around a proactive CEO, who commended his employee for taking mental health days in the expectation of improved performance on her return and highlighted the importance of using sick days for mental health.

Discussion

History

Since the first world war, we have known about the decline in performance associated with increasing hours of work.  There are a number of recent studies that have confirmed this.  Cumulative long hours without sufficient recuperation result in exhaustion.  And exhaustion plays a key role in reducing resilience – a key factor in mental health problems.

Employer of choice

Being the employer of choice in your sector is increasingly important as employers vie for talent in the recruitment market.  A good mental health policy is likely to be good for business.  The con’s of course are the cynical views held by some that a proactive mental health policy will “set a precedent” and their employees will “take advantage”.  However, trust works both ways, I would encourage employers to give it a shot.

Action

So what do you, the employer, want to do about this?  Consider the following:

  • Be open about mental health
  • Consult with your staff, employee representatives and groups, unions and senior management team to open communications about stress and mental health
  • Include mental health in your mission statement
  • Train your staff in mental health first aid

Useful links:

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