Workplace wellbeing

Our Workplace Wellbeing work is to help all employees, managers, and employers flourish in a business or organisation context.
Mental distress is common, particularly in a work environment. It costs businesses and organisations money to do nothing, it saves money if something is done, and it’s otherwise recognised in New Zealand law.

Mental distress is common, one in six people suffer from symptoms of mental illness at work globally. Another one in six suffer from symptoms associated with mental ill health such as worry, sleep problems, and fatigue, that’s why businesses should take notice. Work cultures that value employee wellbeing are linked to having the strongest productivity. Specifically, the average return per $1 spent on mental wellbeing programmes was $4.20.

Low levels of mental wellbeing at work lead to absenteeism, presenteeism, reduced work performance, increased turnover rates, higher accident and injury rates, higher health care costs, higher worker compensation premiums, poorer organisation citizenship behaviours, and greater counterproductive work behaviours.

In 2014, estimates showed that New Zealand lost approximately 6.7 million working days to absence, which amounted to $1.4b across the economy. The average cost to employers of absentee and presentee days is estimated at over $1500 per year, per employee.

Workplaces also have a legal responsibility under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to manage risks to mental health and wellbeing. And both the Human Rights Act and the Employment Relations Act lay out responsibilities and obligations to ensure against discrimination in the workplace.