Workplace Stress is on the Rise


Workplace Stress is on the Rise

It’s been referred to as Australia’s Workplace Stress Crisis and it’s costing us millions.

It seems Australians are more stressed than ever before. With growing job uncertainty, we are working longer hours, under more pressure and many Australians feel undervalued at work.

These pressures lead to some costly workplace health issues. It is estimated presenteeism - reduced productivity - costs Australian workplaces over $6 billion a year. While absenteeism is costing workplaces close to $5 billion each year.

Worksafe Victoria’s 2017 Annual Report shed a disturbing light on this trend with the disclosure that it failed to meet the five-year target for supporting injured employees safe return to work, “mainly due to the increase of mental injuries in the workplace which presents more complex return to work issues (Worksafe Victoria, 2017).

The report highlights that although Australian workplaces have achieved good results in reducing instances of physical injury, the cases of mental injury in the workplace are increasing.

Thankfully workplaces are becoming increasingly aware of this and are now taking mental health support very seriously and this equates to major gains, not only financially, but for workplace culture as well. Mindful Employer is working with many businesses and teams across Australia, and resoundingly we are noticing not just interest, but a passion for doing this well.

What benefits will my organisation see from implementing mental health strategies?

Implementing effective mental health and well-being strategies should result in benefits such as reduced absenteeism and presenteeism, but also improvements in employee satisfaction and the creation of a positive and healthy workplace culture.

Research shows us that if your workplace is implementing effective actions around mental health and wellbeing then you can expect a positive return on investment of 2.3 times (PWC, 2014). That is, for every dollar spent on mental health strategies there is a return of $2.30 in benefits to the organisation.

What does a healthy workplace culture look like?

A workplace culture that supports mental health and wellbeing is one where employees feel safe and supported to discuss any issues they may be having, rather than hiding their concerns out of fear or embarrassment. And importantly, it is one where the managers and the team feel comfortable dealing with these issues when they arise.

A healthy workplace culture is also encouraged by providing employees with opportunities that positively impact their social and physical well-being throughout the work day. This could be as simple as having a well-functioning and comfortable lunch area, a quiet break-out space, or a calendar of social activities.

Support from the top

It’s important to remember that successful cultural change needs to be supported (and demonstrated) by leadership and management first and foremost, even where specific initiatives may have been generated by the employees themselves. This is really where the shift in workplace culture needs to begin. Mindful Employer will often begin a roll-out of mental health awareness programs in an organisation with sessions tailored for the senior leaders of that organisation.

What can I do to support a mentally healthy workplace culture?

A change in workplace culture can take time and often workplaces often need a little help to get started. Mindful Employer has a range of workplace mental health training programs that assist organisations to improve their organisation’s support for the mental health and wellbeing of their staff. These programs work to increase the skills and confidence of managers and staff to deal with mental health issues at the earliest stage. Mindful Employer’s training solutions ensure organisations can provide a consistent response to reduce organisational risk and comply with key legislation.

If your organisation is looking to make a start, or find its way, with mental health and wellbeing and needs support or some additional training to build skills and confidence, please give us a call (1300 012 411) or send us an email. We are happy to have chat to help you work through the best solution for your needs.

WorkSafe Victoria 2017, Annual Report 2017, available, accessed March 2, 2018

Price Waterhouse Coopers 2014, Creating a mentally healthy workplace: Return on investment analysis, available March 2, 2018

Sarah Earnshaw