Safe Work Australia has published two new research reports that present the latest findings on the prevalence of workplace bullying and harassment; and the impact of management commitment to psychological health and safety and poor mental health in the workplace on organisational productivity.
The Psychosocial safety climate and better productivity in Australian workplaces: Cost, productivity, presenteeism, absenteesim report presents an estimate that productivity losses associated with low levels of management commitment to psychological health and safety in the workplace comes at a cost to employers of $6 billion per annum.
The Bullying and harassment in Australian workplaces: Results from the Australian Workplace Barometer project 2014/2015 report provides information on the prevalence of bullying and harassment in Australian workplaces. It reports an increase in the estimated prevalence of bullying in Australian workplaces, from 7% in 2009-10 to 9.7% in 2014-15.
It is not clear why there has been an increase in the estimated prevalence of bullying, however it is worth noting that findings are based on self-reported bullying and it is possible that growing awareness and recognition of mental health in the workplace (including bullying) has contributed to the increase.
These two reports use data collected from the Australia Workplace Barometer (AWB) project, a longitudinal study operating since 2009 that observes workplace trends in psychological health.
“This information is important to the development of national policy and guidance to promote improved psychological health in Australian workplaces” said Safe Work Australia Director of Research and Evaluation, Dr Fleur de Crespigny.
“This research is also important because it represents the first ever national collection of information on bullying and harassment in Australian workplaces.”
“The findings provide evidence that it is advantageous for employers to commit to improving mental health in the workplace” said Dr de Crespigny.