The link between mental health and productivity in the workplace

TELUS Health explains how it can enhance total wellbeing of employees and their families

The link between mental health and productivity in the workplace

This article was provided by TELUS Health.

How would you rate your mental health today on a scale of 1 to 10? One being in crisis and 10 being incredible.

It’s likely that very few of us would rate ourselves at the top end.

“I’m seeing higher levels of burnout and unhealthy coping strategies,” says Dr. Matthew Chow, Psychiatrist and Chief Mental Health Officer at TELUS Health. “In the workplace” he adds, “this can mean higher levels of absenteeism, and ‘presenteeism’, which means that people come to work, but can’t operate efficiently.”

This is partly why most employers are putting more focus on – and resources into –  employee mental health and its link to productivity and profit.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of workers in the U.S. are at high risk of a mental health issue such as depression, anxiety or addiction, and 41% are at moderate risk, according to a recent TELUS Health Mental Health Index.

These statistics have obvious negative implications for the people behind the numbers. But without proper management, employers and our society at large, too, stand to suffer.

“Our research found that workers that rated their mental health as poor have work productivity scores more than 39 points below the national average,” says Dr. Chow. “Innovative solutions are needed to address our growing mental health crisis, and employers have an opportunity to create a stronger, healthier workforce, which in turn will improve total wellbeing across the country.”

Not only is supporting employee health the right thing to do, but it’s essential for the success of your business.

An organization answers the call

The good news is that employers are well positioned to play a leading role in supporting employee health. The 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer found that employees want employers to model healthy work-life boundaries, and expect them to support and protect their wellbeing. In fact 62% of American workers said that wellbeing support was a key factor when applying for a new job.

Even better news? Employers can tap into valuable and personalized resources to better enable them to prioritize the health and wellbeing of their people.

As a recognized global health and wellbeing leader, TELUS Health is a trusted partner in the workplace health space, working with organizations around the world to help enhance the total wellbeing of employees and their families, and providing services that support physical, financial and mental health.

TELUS Health entered the health care space nearly 15 years ago to transform the way people access and interact with health care services. In 2022 they acquired a leading employee assistance program (EAP) and pension and benefits provider LifeWorks in order to better serve employers with an enhanced portfolio of services designed to support total employee wellbeing.

Challenges for employers

When it comes to supporting mental health, choosing effective employee wellbeing tools can be a challenge for employers. The right solutions provide employees with custom support and ease of access. 

Personalisation is key because where someone sits on the mental health continuum varies from one employee to the next – and often from one day to the next. “A continuum of care means that every person at every point has access to the right type and level of care for them,” says Paula Allen, Global Leader, Research & Client Insights, TELUS Health.

Allen also stresses the need for a single front door into a system of care, emphasizing the challenges employers and employees face managing a multitude of services.

“Both employees and employers have made it clear that the fragmentation of counseling, behavioral health services, and medical reimbursement creates problems of confusion, frustration and undue gaps in support,” she says. “When we address fragmentation, we improve service, adoption and health outcomes.”

Holistic mental health support for today’s employees

TELUS Health offers a one-stop shop for employers looking to support total wellbeing across the continuum of care.

Total Mental Health – their innovative solution for workplace mental health – provides employees with immediate, unlimited and continuous counseling that is available 24/7 and 365 days a year.

“Continuous counseling that can be designed and accessed at any time in many different ways is the innovative approach we need to help employers support employees who are struggling” says Dr. Chow. Critically, the counseling can be accessed in an individual’s preferred format: in-person, virtually, over the phone, or through chat.

Personalization is further enhanced by “care navigators” who are available to employees – at their fingertips – day or night. The job of a care navigator is to ensure that every employee has a care plan that allows them to get the individual support they need, when and where they need it most. These experts are also there to help users gain access to other clinicians, services and to make benefits-use easier to understand.

Global expertise

Powered by employees and an extensive network of thousands of diverse healthcare professionals, TELUS Health combines the strength of its team and technology to deliver results to its clients, covering 67 million lives around the globe in more than 160 countries.

“Our services and programs ensure employees and their families get the care and support they need, when they need it, in the most efficient way,” says Dr. Chow.

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