The Cost of Not Addressing Workplace Mental Wellness


The following statistics were compiled in The Wellness Dividendexternal link, Graham Lowe, Ph.D.

  • According to the 2011 Sun Life Buffett National Wellness Survey, Canadian employers ranked work-related stress as their top employee health concern.
  • A global wellness survey also flagged stress as the leading health risk motivating employers to invest in employee wellness programs (Working Well: A Global Survey of Health Promotion and Workplace Wellness Strategies, 2009).
  • Hundreds of studies confirm that job characteristics, the work environment and organizational factors play key roles in employees' experience of stress. People feel under stress when their job demands exceed their resources to respond to these demands (Lowe, 2014).
  • Other research shows a strong relationship between job satisfaction - a key indicator of overall wellbeing - and both mental and physical health. A meta-analysis of 500 job satisfaction studies confirms this relationship (Faragher, E.B., Cass, M. & Cooper, C.L. 2005).
  • A meta-analysis of 169 job stress studies concluded that an employee's job performance is negatively influenced by the presence job stressors (Gilboa, Shirom, Fried & Cooper, 2008).
  • Lost productivity related to absenteeism, presenteeism (when an employee is physically present but unproductive) and turnover costs Canadian companies $6.3 billion (Smetanin, P., et. al., 2011).
  • Workplace stress is impacting other areas of people's lives. 20% said it put a strain on their marriage or relationship, 11% missed important events such as birthdays or weddings, 53% said it affected their sleep…and 27% their physical health. (Mind YouGov survey, 2014).
  • Acts of hostility by supervisors including ridiculing, giving the silent treatment, blaming, taking undue credit, and breaking promises can result in negative consequences including abseentism, turnover and reduced productivity that results in a significant cost to organizations (Tepper et al. 2006).
  • There is [a] need for workplaces to invest in initiatives that promote positive workplace mental health, because of its negative association with psychological distress generally, as well as to protect employees' from the negative impact of work stress (Page, K.M., Milner, A.J., Martin, A., Turrell, G., Giles-Corti, B., LaMontagne, A.D., 2014).