Mental health & absenteeism: what employers can do to save costs

March 20, 2024

Over the last years, absenteeism due to poor mental health has increased steadily. This is costing organizations billions every year. The following article will help you understand the relationship between mental health and absenteeism and what you can do about it as an organization.

Likeminded Editorial Team

Table of Content

What impact does mental health have on employees’ absenteeism

Mental health conditions and issues can have a profound impact on an individual's ability to function in the workplace. Employees experiencing poor mental health might for example have difficulties concentrating on certain tasks or struggle to engage and collaborate with colleagues.

Studies have shown a clear negative impact of poor mental health on work productivity. It can also cause employees to feel not fit for work at all, making sick leave required.

Important to mention: Many mental health issues are caused by work-related factors like stress. One study e.g. found that one third of all burnout cases had an exclusive professional cause and another third mentioned professional causes as exacerbating factors.

The effect of (increased) absenteeism on organizations

Mental-health-related absenteeism is costing companies significant amounts of money every year. Concretely, German companies lose 288€ for each day an employee is absent. With an average of 11,2 sick days per employee and 17,5% of sick days being due to mental health, this would result in a loss of 56.448€ per 100 employees per year on average.

But the problem is even bigger: the average sick leave in the case of psychological issues usually is much higher than in “normal cases”, ranking at 43,3 days on average.

What’s more: the above calculation is only based on the number of actual sick days. Not few employees with mental health issues still come to work while not fully functioning. This usually leads to a loss in productivity. 

The effect of mental health support on absenteeism

Studies show that employer-provided mental health resources and support e.g. through an Employee-Assistance-Program (EAP) or digital platform like Likeminded have a positive effect on employee absenteeism. 

Concretely, they can help to reduce absenteeism and improve overall productivity in the workplace. Moreover, it has been shown that employees receiving support through an EAP or similar solution, reduced absenteeism at a faster pace than non-EAP users. It has also been proven that such mental health programs yield a positive ROI ranging from ~$5.00 to more than $6.00 for every dollar invested.

How to prevent the increase in mental health-related absenteeism

Destigmatizing mental health at work can be a first step to tackling mental health-related absenteeism. In a culture where employees can speak openly about their mental health issues, they will address problems and make use of support offers earlier.

This can prevent mental health issues from becoming so severe that sick leave is necessary. It can also help to shorten absences because the affected can identify their problems and the most effective measures quickly.

This is what organizations can do in 3 steps

Step 1: Raising awareness & educating

To raise awareness, employers and especially leaders, as well as HR responsibles, can start talking about mental health openly in their organization. They can moreover provide helpful resources like readings or expert webinars to educate people.

Step 2: Training and upskilling

In the next step, they can train staff to recognize mental health warning signs and offer psychological first aid. Some mental health partners like Likeminded also offer dedicated upskilling workshops e.g. for HR or leadership.

Step 3: Taking action

Last but not least, organizations should decide what kind of offers they want to enable and support employees. Mental health programs should offer employees access to different formats of psychological support like 1-on-1 sessions with psychologists or coaches, group sessions or self-guided tools.

While some companies opt for in-house psychologists or EAPs, digital platforms like Likeminded provide significant advantages:

Likeminded is a mental health company based in Berlin. It equips employees with fast and easy access to high-quality care offerings for times of crisis, more well-being, and personal growth. With Likeminded, customers are improving their employee satisfaction, retention, and productivity as well as reducing absenteeism. This helps them to stay competitive in dynamic markets and meet the requirements of a new working world.

Green banner: discover the Likeminded platform and book a demo
Share article

Your cookie settings

We take good care of you and your data. We use cookies to improve user experience. Choose what cookies you allow us to use.

Always active