Created on 2022-10-09 17:38

Published on 2022-10-09 17:43

The average person works for 80,000-90,000 hours during a lifetime. The only thing they spend more time doing, is sleeping. This is not just a reminder of how much time modern humans spend at work; it shows why we desperately need to turn work from a transactional task to something that is mentally fulfilling and engages us throughout our working lives.

We are in a time when workers are beginning to hold employers accountable for their wellbeing. The pandemic blew the lid off the stress, fear, burnout, and dissatisfaction brewing under the surface. It also manifested in trends like the Great Resignation or Quiet Quitting, where employees decided to disengage with their companies rather than ‘grin and bear it’. Instead of seeing these trends as temporary blips, employers must take a cue from them and seriously invest in mentally safe and thriving workplaces.

Mental Health – A Strategic Imperative

According to a recent study by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India, over 80% of the Indian workforce reported mental health issues over the past year. They further estimated that poor mental health costs employers around $14 billion annually in the form of absenteeism, presenteeism and attrition.

The ripples of employee mental distress will not vanish overnight. Mercer’s Global Talent Trends 2022 Study has found that in the coming year, 70% of HR leaders expect higher-than-normal employee turnover, especially in young talent and those with valued digital skills. And 60% of executives believe that “top talent will not return to in-person work”.

Employers who acknowledge these realities and take steps to make employee mental health and wellbeing the core of their businesses, will have a major advantage in the years to come. There is enough data to support this view.

An example is a detailed academic study of the long-term stock performance of companies that have made it to ‘100 best companies to work for’ rankings since 1984. It turns out that these companies have outperformed the stock markets by 2% to 2.7% per year. In fact, the outperformance got significantly better during crises, the authors found.

Meanwhile, a study by economists from the University of Warwick found that happiness made people 12% more productive. It also appears that investing in workplace wellbeing encourages people to work harder. A study at the London School of Economics found that a “a meaningful increase in well-being” yields a 10% increase in productivity, on average.

Studies like these clearly indicate that wellbeing needs to be a strategic priority for employers. It’s not about seeing employees as machines that require regular repair and maintenance; on the contrary, it’s about humanising workplaces to a greater extent. 

October 10th is World Mental Health Day and the theme is Making Mental Health and Wellbeing a Global Priority. Join us as we bring together experts and leaders for day long deliberation online –