It’s no secret that the world of work is changing. Always looking for higher performances; for the ability to work remotely meaning having employees who can be flexible with their hours and workloads; or the increasing competition within specific industries…
Those many changes pose new challenges for companies looking to keep their employees happy and healthy – especially when it comes to mental health.
Today, we want to be serious with you and talk about an important topic: Mental Health at Work.
Read on to understand its pivotal role in the business’s success, to empathize with your peers – because we are all humans after all – to learn how to detect employee mental health problems, as well as addressing those issues in the daily work rhythm.
Why Mental Well-Being Is Essential in the Workplace?
What is mental health in the workplace?
Mental health in the workplace refers to the degree of well-being employees could feel while working in a company.
We don’t think about the physical capability here, but more about the way they feel and think.
What can be the reasons for low mental health?
Mental Health can be affected by many different elements such as stress, working environment, social isolation, heavy schedules, office politics, or company culture for instance.
Extra responsibilities, harassment at work, personal problems, reduced salary levels, and uncertainty of job consistency can also deteriorate the situation.
What are the benefits of preserving good mental health in the office?
Healthy and productive employees are the assets of an organization.
Workers with good mental health are generally more productive, motivated, and emotionally healthy.
Why is mental health in the workplace so important monitoring?
When we are mentally stable, we can cope with any difficulty taking it as a challenge. However, in the workplace, mental health issues can foster a mess in business if employees are struggling with themselves.
The workplace demands intricate attention to avoid uncertainties. However, it seems impossible nowadays. Why? The current situation has created dilemmas in everyone’s minds and emotions. Isolation generated by remote work has created boredom, strains, and unmanageable underlying conditions.
Hence, your team at work finds it challenging to pay attention to ongoing moments, and they keep on thinking about problems, negative emotions, and more.
Read on to understand better the negative impact inadequate health management practices could have on your employees and their job performance.
What does poor mental health impact employees?
Poor work-related mental health can lead to decreased productivity, low employee morale, higher turnover rates, job dissatisfaction, drug use at work, or even absenteeism.
Even when the depression of an employee is not related to work and is more focused on a personal experience, their mental health can affect job performance. Ultimately, the scenarios also impact employee retention.
How does mental health can affect your company?
As an employer, you should also know that it might have a cost. Let us explain.
When you are paying your employee to do their full-time job, and they’re not bringing expected results or even don’t come to work, it’s a loss for your business.
As well as, if you recruit new people and they, too, find the same negative work environment and hence get the same results, it will result in a recruitment expenditure loss for you.
It would take extra time and money to put on search, onboarding, and training new employees.
Should employers care about mental health?
You would have understood… Employers and managers should pay attention to the mental health of their employees.
Also, the lack of attention towards this need not only impacts employees and their productivity but also affects how satisfied and motivated they could feel doing their job.
How do you address mental health in the workplace?
Addressing mental health issues can be done through several ways and means such as mental health counseling, setting up company rules and mental health policies for your workplace, encouraging employees to open up about their mental disorders, prevent team members from taking on too much they can handle, or even by being a good mentor.
It is also important to implement an anti-harassment policy at work. This will protect employees from any kind of abuse or mistreatment in the workplace which could lead them to mental problems.
In addition, setting up routines such as providing team lunches for instance can help to distract co-workers from their problems and bring peer support.
Can you fire an employee with mental illness?
In the United States, the ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act – states that employers cannot terminate someone’s contract on the account of mental illness issues, such as severe depression or anxiety.
Understanding the Common Signs of Mental Health Issues
Identifying an empoyees’ poor mental health is a challenging and sensitive task. But being able to will help you react better, protect your co-workers and reduce work-related risk factors.
Below are a few common signs that can be noticed:
- Physical signs
Observe the physical symptoms of your teammates.
Even though you won’t always see obvious physical problems People with mental health conditions can exhibit small signs such as tiredness. This can be due to overthinking or disturbed sleep.
Keep an eye on your staff’s behavior, which may be observed to be more irritable.
- Increased use of alcohol
Examine whether the individual seems to be drinking more due to some type of disorder or illness.
- Beware of errors
When employees work with poor mental health or a mental illness, they might make more mistakes than average.
- Low Productivity
Even though they might be hyperactive at work, such as starting early and staying late, their productivity remains incredibly low.
Another sign could be the increase of absence or drop-offs of your employees. In that case, they probably avoid going to work.
They are facing trouble in decision-making processes.
Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace
Now that you understood the importance of mental health in the workplace, get ready to improve with the below examples of how to do so.
Create opportunities for employees to interact with each other in a relaxed environment by taking advantage of the coffee machine corner every morning, using the lunchroom for more than just lunches, etc.
Be a support for your team
Be a good mentor for your co-workers and promote mental health, communication and discussions to free your employee of their burden.
Make your teammates feel like you’re there for them and that they can rely on you.
Create an anti-harassment policy at work
An anti-harassment policy can be applied in the workplace to prevent employees from being harassed either in the workplace or in their free time
Do not try to encourage your employees to do more than they are able, give them time to recharge by taking small breaks or asking for advice from your manager if needed.
Improve mental health by creating a healthy work environment
There are different ways to create a healthy workplace. For instance, you can share the company vision board by promoting healthy snacks, deep breathing tips, set, and rules to follow to manage stress if needed.
You could also suggest meditation, or yoga sessions during lunch breaks for everyone to try out, or give them access to an online platform where they could promote their wellbeing and well-being by sharing posts
Set specific guidelines to ensure a healthy work rhythm
It’s important to set specific guidelines to ensure a healthy work rhythm.
For instance, you could set either specific hours of arrival and departure or flexible hours. Whatever works best for your employees.
To keep a healthy work-life balance, you could also monitor your employee’s hours of work.
Without being too controlling, don’t be afraid to ask for information on their schedule, because they might need help coping with their workload by asking for an extra day off.
Create an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
An EAP is a program that provides assessment and short-term counseling to employees who need help with the personal problems they are experiencing.
Motivational Interviewing, Critical Incident Stress Management Education can also be done through this type of service.
To create an EAP at your company, you can look for mental health services and define precisely the needs you have.
Provide free mental health care
An effective way to address mental health needs is by giving your employees access to free mental health care.
Providing confidential assistance when employees feel they need it can be helpful.
For instance, they could take part in 1-1 sessions, group therapy sessions, or consultations with psychologists for free.
You would have understood. Mental health is a delicate and important thing to monitor in the workplace. It needs to be managed properly so that it does not affect colleagues, neither the workflow.
Being aware of those challenges should be enough motivation to put into practice all the above-mentioned examples. To do so, make sure you identify the distress signs of your peers as well as the approach that works best with your company and your employees.
If you follow these simple steps you will notice the difference quite fast! But if you need help, try asking a representative from your Human Resources department if there is anything they can do to help you improve the way your team manages their mental health at work.
Finally, keep in mind that if you cannot do anything to assist a colleague, then it might be far more significant than you realize. In that case, contact a competent authority.