Why Mental Health in the Workplace is Important and How You Can Improve Corporate Wellness

Mental Health in the Workplace is a Big Deal

We all know that a stressful work environment is not good for employees. But do you realize how expensive poor mental health is for our businesses?

Deloitte Canada has figured out how much it costs Canadian workplaces every year:


While these numbers are big, we hope it encourages employers to consider investing in a workplace mental health program as an investment in their employees, rather than an expense.

Can your business afford to ignore mental health in the workplace?

Direct costs include healthcare costs from psychological and counselling visits, drug costs, income support for STD and LTD claims. Mental health issues account for 30-40% of all STD and LTD claims. All of this will drive up your annual group benefits coverage.

But the more insidious concern is the indirect costs of mental illness in the workplace. Absenteeism and presenteeism, turnover of staff, and a stressful culture all make it more difficult for your company to successfully service your customers.

So, what can you do?

Steps you can take to improve your workplace wellness! 

We recommend starting with a few easy and actionable steps to proactively create a wellness program that will support your team’s mental well-being.

  1. Start with a Conversation
    Employers who have regular conversations about mental health will reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and create a healthier, more open work culture. Make sure your employees know that their mental health is just as important as their physical well-being. In your regular staff meetings, make sure you remind employees about their benefits plan, or bring in your advisor to run a lunch and learn.
  2. Improve your Existing Group Benefits Plan to Include Proactive Health and Wellness Options
    Benefits have really evolved over the last few years to become more flexible than ever.
    EAP’s (Employee Assistance Programs) have become popular. We can increase coverage for mental health support. Many benefit plans also include a variety of online tools and resources to help employees support themselves on an ongoing basis, not just during a visit to a psychologist.
    We can also create a health and wellness spending fund for employers to put towards additional support for your team. This can include fitness programs, yoga, or additional coverage for employees who might need some extra help.Learn more about our health and wellness benefits. 
  1. Get a Mental Health First Aid Kit
    Most workplaces have a first aid kit – but what about a mental health first aid kit? For those extra stressful days, a well-stocked kit will help your staff relax and de-stress. These kits, available at Wellness Works Canada, include stress balls, essential oils, resilience tips, breathing exercises and more.

  2. Join Wellness Works Canada
    We are proud to partner with Wellness Works Canada, a non-profit with the mandate to support companies in building healthy, high-performing work cultures. They offer a variety of assessments, recommendations, training and certifications for companies to become wellness certified.Click here to join and use the code Timber10 for a 10% discount in membership rates.
  3. Promote a Healthy Work-Life Balance
    Set realistic and clear expectations for your staff about what is expected of them, especially after the workday ends.
    Outline the strategy to deal with emails received after work hours or on weekends. Include a plan to cover your employees if they are sick or when they go on vacation.
  4. Define your Workplace Wellness Plan
    Put pen to paper! Outline your workplace wellness plan and include it in your staff orientation package and HR policy manual.If you’re not sure what to include, consider asking your employees what wellness initiatives would be valuable to them. Some things to consider for your workplace wellness plan:
  • Can you hold ‘walking’ meetings instead of sitting around the boardroom table?
  • Look at office ergonomics
  • Office nutrition (incorporate a healthy snack station)
  • Group fitness programs or activities
  • Wellness education opportunities
  • Lunch and learns on your employee benefits program
  • Can you offer flex time for employees to go for appointments?
  • Can your staff bring in their pets?

If you want to see how you can improve your existing benefit plan to incorporate more proactive health and wellness options, contact Timber for a free assessment.

In the meantime, here are some other great resources:

  1. Mental Health Works: http://www.mentalhealthworks.ca/
    Free webinars, workshops and support for workplace mental health support amid COVID-19 concerns
  2. Deloitte Insights: The ROI in workplace mental health programs
  3. Healthy Minds at Work – Assessment tools and resources from the Government of Canada