As the Bay Area is home to more than 100,000 different small businesses, it’s understandable that owners want to keep their costs as low as possible to stay competitive. If there’s one area in which small business owners shouldn’t skimp though, it’s in providing mental health resources for their employees.
Mental Illness and Productivity
According to a survey conducted by the Institute for Health and Productivity Management, mental illness is a leading cause of productivity loss and absenteeism among larger companies. This diminished productivity costs U.S. businesses $225.8 billion annually, so it’s an issue that small business owners should be taking seriously. And as opposed to injury or physical ailments, the lingering societal stigma surrounding mental illness can cause sufferers to feel isolated and avoid the issue until it becomes a major problem. By making mental health resources available to your employees, you can let them know that help is available for them to begin building strong support systems.
Keeping Your Door Open Isn’t Expensive
The most direct way employers can make mental health resources available to their employees is by purchasing a group health insurance plan that covers treatment for mental illness. A doctor or professional therapist will have the expertise to prescribe a course of treatment that will give workers the help they need. However, there are other ways a business can help workers that struggle with psychological issues that don’t require a financial commitment.
For instance, owners can enact an open door policy so that staffers on every level can approach them with any emotional issues they may be experiencing. Instituting an open door policy can help your team members feel safe enough to come forward with their issues before those issues begin to have a detrimental effect on their job performance.
The Value of Flexibility
Another way you can provide mental health support to your employees free of cost is by instituting policies that make the workplace less stressful, such as flexible scheduling. For example, an employee who is coping with seasonal affective disorder might benefit from being able to work shifts in the afternoon or evening so that they can spend their daytime hours outdoors getting some emotionally revitalizing sunshine. That same flexibility could also benefit workers who live with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, who may have difficulty adhering to a typical 9-to-5 schedule. Any project management hurdles created by the unconventional scheduling would be greatly outweighed by the valued derived from being able to keep a top performer with unique needs on staff.
In addition to the obvious moral component, there are a number of tangible benefits to employers who provide mental health resources to their employees. Making mental health resources available to employees is a great way for a company to invest in itself and convey its value for its team, no matter how diverse each individual’s needs might be.
Canopy Health is a community of caregivers creating an integrated healthcare experience where quality care and coverage are provided by an alliance of top caregivers throughout the Bay Area. They offer refreshingly clear, human care that is achieved by making each unique member’s journey predictable, transparent, and cost-effective.
For more tips and inspiration for small business owners, visit CBS Small Business Pulse San Francisco