BLUF

Workplace mental health issues are increasing, and so is the trend for organisations to grant employees wellness days off, which is part of an overall business strategy to reduce stress.

Summary

Regarding wellbeing and mental health, this ABC article makes the following points:
  • According to an Australian Bureau of Statistics survey, one in five Australians reports experiencing high levels of psychological distress.
  • Workers have been self-administering mental health days in the guise of minor illness. 
  • Increasingly workplaces such as  HSBC Australia are pioneering policies for employees to take one " wellness day" off a year.
  •  Wellbeing expert Professor Bently notes that while health days do help reduce stress, this action puts the onus on the worker to manage their stress levels.
  • Bentley notes that it would be better to encourage managers to develop strategies to prevent employees from needing leave in the first place.
  • 2014 report found for every $1 an organisation spends on appropriate mental health actions, they will on average get $2.30 in benefits in return.
  • Unsurprisingly the prevalence of mental health in the workplace increased during COVID-19.
  • Managers need to be more proactive in identifying mental health issues and then supporting their staff, which should reduce workplace stress.