This year has been stressful for South Africans. While winning the World Cup may have given people some temporary relief, we have also entered the final stretch for the year – and that has historically meant more business pressure to close the year well, and a statistically higher risk of burnout.
Currently, millions will go back to their jobs and find themselves grappling with feelings of being overwhelmed. YuLife, an InsurTech start-up dedicated to transforming the nature of insurance, and IPSOS, did a joint study which found that even though 85% of South African employee’s experience stress at their jobs –only 39% of them find their wellbeing programmes effective in supporting them.
For organisations that are serious about safeguarding the wellbeing of their staff, investing in a quality Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is one of the best ways to protect – and maximise – their human capital.
South Africans are struggling:
It’s estimated that up to 25% of all employees in South Africa will experience depression or some kind of mental health problem each year. If left unchecked, the collective cost of this could be up to R161 billion annually for SA employers . What’s more, reports have shown that companies with higher wellbeing scores show a superior return on assets, generate more profits and command better valuations than businesses that do not have good wellbeing scores.
Jaco Oosthuizen, CEO and managing director of YuLife South Africa and co-founder of the YuLife group, says: “Unfortunately, South African employees report having some of the worst mental health outcomes in the world. Many of them are desperately looking for ways to improve that. Which is why it was so important to us to build an engaging app that can give their staff easy access to tools that can help them manage their mental, physical, and financial wellbeing effectively.”
Highly stressed employees often show decreased productivity levels, reduced motivation, frequent illness or absenteeism, and have difficulty concentrating – all of which negatively impact work output. Additionally, long-term stress can lead to more serious mental health issues – such as anxiety and depression, thus creating a vicious cycle of diminished productivity.
The benefits of Employee Assistance Programmes that work:
Although EAPs do address many of the mental health problems in the workplace, studies have consistently shown that less than 10% of employees use their EAP.
This shows a worrying gap between the support services offered and what employees need and use. By leveraging the power of gamification mechanics, YuLife’s app turns wellbeing into something that more employees start using and stick to – resulting in an impressive return on investment numbers for employers.
“Our research has shown that many of the employers we work with are getting a 180% return on investment through reduced absenteeism and increased productivity,” Oosthuizen says.
To get the most out of an EAP and to ensure that your workplace encourages wellbeing, Oosthuizen suggests companies leverage technology to make their EAP solution accessible, work hard to boost the EAP’s visibility, create a wider wellbeing strategy that prioritises confidentiality and introduce initiatives that reduce stress.
By creating a general culture of wellbeing that meets the needs of the workforce, South African businesses can improve their mental health, boost profits, and build high-functioning organisations that operate at a standard that would make our winning rugby team as proud of us, as we are of them