Mental health: Game changer at the workplace
42% of employees over the world have experienced a decrease in mental health since the pandemics started (Mind Share Partners). The new normal brought new challenges to worker’s lives, in many cases, enhancing triggers at work.
The invisible disabilities, like depression and anxiety, became common in the workplace. Some years ago, the issue would probably be treated exclusively as an employee’s business, but nowadays workers pressure companies to support mental health at the workplace.
As mental health is deeply related to productivity and linked to turnover rates, companies must be aware of their employee’s situation and take action to provide a safe environment for everyone.
How it impacts in work environment
When workers suffer from mental health and struggle to get help, it is very likely to have an impact on productivity.
About 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions (ONS).
Employees become more critical each time about the company’s posture about their mental health. 80% of employees would leave their job over mental health (TELUS International).
But studies show that companies have a key role in shifting this scenery, through mental health incentive programs.
According to the American Heart Association, doing nothing can cost higher than investing in evidence-based prevention and treatment. Also, the World Health Organization found that for every 1 dollar spent on treating mental health, companies get 4 dollars in employee’s productivity.
Either for retention, productivity or human sense, managers must address mental illness triggers in the workplace that can put their employee’s health at risk.
Triggers that can impact negatively mental health
Some common triggers that may impact on mental health in the workplace are:
Due to the pandemic and the increase in remote work, several companies have experienced increased productivity. Besides this is a great metric, the excessive demand for high productivity may put a lot of pressure on employees, especially over the ones that present mental health vulnerabilities.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, “The pressure of an increasingly demanding work culture in the UK is perhaps the biggest and most pressing challenge to the mental health of the general population.”
The excessive demand at work may cause employee burnout, home-life tension and other kinds of health problems (Benenden Health).
The world is going through a global crisis caused by a hard-to-control disease, deeply affecting specific kinds of business. As a result, many people have lost their jobs or live with people that went through it.
The fear of not being able to keep their jobs, or even be going through financial struggles is a big concern for 2 out of 10 employees (Benenden Health).
The impact of financial concerns on an employee’s mental health can cause insomnia, anxiety, stress and behavioral changes.
94% of workers affirm to have been victims of bullying in the workplace. Among these, 51,1% affirm the bully is a boss or a manager (Monster.com).
But according to the Bureau of National Affairs, every target of a bully may lose up to 200 hours of productivity annually, reaching 400 hours if the victim takes sick or vacation time.
This sad situation may leave employees with deep emotional wounds, increasing health risks and impacting negatively in the production.
Good practices for companies to deliver a better climate at work
While employees struggle to work besides mental illness, companies must take action to help employees overcome mental illness. We’ve listed some forms companies can address the topic:
Understand employees’ mental health status
The first step is to evaluate whether workers suffer with any kind of mental illness. Use questionnaires to understand how many mentally distressed employees the company has, and what kind of struggles they are facing.
Be open to genuinely listen to your employees in a non-judgemental way if they come to you. Make sure to structure a culture in which employees can feel safe to talk about the triggers for their mental illness at the workplace.
Also, train your leaders’ staff to support workers who lack mental health. They must adopt a supportive attitude rather than a punitive one. The company must be compromised to reduce the burdens the workplace may cause on employee’s health.
Provide mental health coverage in the health care plan
The mind is an important part of health. That’s why companies must not neglect the specialities focused on their worker’s mental health.
From clinical specialties to therapy, companies can also invest in ludical activities to strengthen mental health, offering options such as dance, yoga and self-expression sessions.
When people get treatment for their mental illness, they have high chances of getting better. 49,3% of people completing IAPT treatment for anxiety or depression recovered from their condition (NHS Digital report). The numbers show that supporting your employees to recover mentally may change their condition.
Take action in the pain points
A leader must be able to lead by example, demonstrating the benefits of mental health care and adopting a zero-tolerance policy against bullying.
Provide the tools employees need to overcome the challenges that may put their health at risk. For example, you can train workers to manage their time better, avoiding workload issues.
Implement a culture that allows flexibility for employees with unstable mental health. Remember they may need time to recover from trauma, or may face breaks due to anxiety.
Mental health matters
Promoting mental health in your company is a two-way street: it is beneficial for employees, who keep themselves healthy, and it’s great for companies, that can rely on motivated workers.
Building a trustful relationship with the employees is essential in a culture that welcomes diversity, even when it comes to mental health. Happy workers build amazing things in a healthy environment.
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