23rd December, 2014

Protecting worker wellbeing in your cafe business

Workplace health and safety news often focuses solely on the physical wellbeing of employees and staff. However, the mental state of your workers is likely just as, if not more, important than their physical health.

Stress, anxiety and depression are just a few of the issues that can impact on your business’s productivity and overall performance. When staff feel unsafe or unhappy in the workplace, you may find the overall company suffers as a result.

For this reason, it is crucial that your health and safety practices not only protect the physical wellbeing of your workers, but also promote a happy and supportive culture.

Mental wellbeing a major concern in Australia

Work-related mental stress is a serious burden on Australian businesses, according to a recent report from the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance.

The Creating Mentally Healthy Workplaces report found mental health problems cause more than 6 million working days to be lost each year. Overall, this costs Australian businesses almost double the $6.3 billion spent on treatment.

“Poor mental health is a significant burden on our economy. The direct financial impact of mental ill-health on Australian businesses is in the vicinity of $11 billion every year, largely due to absenteeism and reduced productivity,” National Mental Health Commission Chairman Allan Fels explained.

Psychological injuries are therefore just as serious as the physical issues claimed under workers compensation insurance. According to Safe Work Australia, work-related mental stress accounts for approximately 5 per cent of all occupational injuries.

Addressing mental stress

Employees can suffer psychological distress for a number of reasons, including increased pressure during times of high demand, feeling unsafe due to unaddressed risks, or stress caused by bullying.

Cafe owners in Australia may be facing particular concerns over the coming months, after the recent siege in Sydney placed many industry workers on edge. If your staff feel unsafe in the workplace, they are unlikely to perform at their best.

If a worker were to suffer anxiety and stress due to the recent events, you will need to make sure your workers compensation cover is up to date. Now is the best time to review cafe insurance in Perth to make sure you have the best product available to protect your business and staff.

To minimise the effects of stress, Mr Fels identified six key steps your business can take to achieve a mentally healthy workplace. These are:

  • Design work to minimise risk factors and reduce fears
  • Promote protective factors to individuals and the organisation
  • Enhance personal resilience among workers
  • Promote and facilitate help-seeking
  • Support worker recovery from mental illness
  • Increase awareness and reduce stigma surrounding mental health

By putting these practices in place, and encouraging your employees to be open about their anxiety and mental wellbeing, you should be able to maintain high productivity over the summer months.

Author: Murray Bruce