Workplace mental health and absence
Morneau Shepell has just released the results of a survey conducted in October 2016 to gain understanding and compare the perspective of working Canadians regarding workplace mental health and absence (1,018 respondents). Two thirds (66%) of the employees surveyed experienced worker role changes due to employer organizational changes. These organizational changes include team restructuring (39 %), downsizing/layoffs (35 %), job re-design (35 %), re-design of the physical office space (29. 5 %) and mergers (15 %).
Impacting job performance
Of those employees who have experienced a change, 40 % said it negatively affected their health and well-being and 30 % indicated that it impacted their job performance. Of the organizational changes, job re-design had the strongest correlation to sick leave for both physical and mental health.
Morneau Shepell’s survey also assessed workplace mental health issues and found that the employee respondents were currently or in the past experiencing depression (31%) and anxiety (28%) as the most prevalent conditions.
Millennials at greater risk
Additionally, sick leave for mental health concerns is more than two times as likely for employees age 30 and under, compared to the average likelihood of employees older than age 30.
What does the research tell us?
Through its research, Morneau Shepell found that 75 per cent of all respondents indicated work culture as the most important issue to address regarding mental health in the workplace. This issue ranked above the importance of employees' willingness to get help (71 %), employees' coping skills and resilience (70 %), reducing stigma among employees (65 %), reducing stigma among managers (65 %) and concerns about employees returning from disability leave (62 %).
MaxOT results analysis
As I read and digest the survey results I cannot help but draw attention to the fact that when an employee sustains an injury of illness, regardless of the type (e.g. back injury, diabetes), this will impact their worker role. Worker role changes impact mental health. Moving forward, for clinicians and case managers working with employees returning to work and staying at work, the more we pay attention to the worker role impacts and subsequent mental health impacts, the more likely we can facilitate successful sustainable outcomes.