When you reflect on Workplace Mental Health Programs, who were the originals? Will they ever be mirrorer?
It’s well recognised that excessive or sustained work pressure can lead to stress. Occupational stress poses a risk to businesses and can result in higher sickness absence, lower staff engagement and reduced productivity. The term burnout was originally coined in the 1970s to describe the consequences of ‘severe stress and high ideals’ among the helping professions. These are fields where many feel a high level of moral purpose, a dedication to making a difference and an urge to go above and beyond. This well-intentioned source of motivation can take its toll on a person. Does this sound familiar? Without a healthy work/life balance, productivity is likely to decrease and employees will eventually burn out. Insist employees take regular breaks when they can and understand that not everyone will respond to their emails outside of work hours. Encourage your employees to develop a rich and full life outside of work and to spend time with loved ones as this will better them. We may be trying our best to look after ourselves, doing all the right things, but we still find we are struggling. If we are experiencing one of the common mental health difficulties such as anxiety or depression, this can lead to altered thinking, different energy and motivation levels, which all make it harder to do what we need to do to keep well or function effectively. Mental distress affects people in different ways and at different times in their lives. Positive mental health allows people to work productively, cope with stress and realise their full potential. It contributes to improved staff morale, better individual and team performance, and job satisfaction.
Mental health can fluctuate along a spectrum in the same way that physical health does and there may be times when it is better than others. If an individual does not trust their line manager, they are unlikely to want to discuss a sensitive issue such as mental health with them. Managers need to ensure they are seen as approachable and listen when staff ask for help. Managers should also be mindful of whether the workplace culture is conducive to encouraging people to talk about their mental health, including disclosure. All employers have a responsibility to support the health and wellbeing of their staff. Looking after mental health in the workplace is not just a corporate responsibility. Staff who have positive mental health are more productive and businesses who promote a progressive approach to mental health can see a significant impact on business performance. Ensuring easy access to safe, confidential therapy or counselling sessions, preferably conducted off-site, is a great step in the right direction. It can provide an additional source of great help and support to anyone in the organization who may Don't forget to send out proper internal communications around employers duty of care mental health in your organisation.
Employers should ensure that communication about available treatment resources for mental health is reaching all staff, including non-management staff, and that the communication includes messaging about the privacy and confidentiality of disclosed employee health information. We all have this asset of mental health that affects how we think, how we feel and, in the perspective of business, how it affects what we can do at work - so, how can we work with employees to improve and protect mental health in the workplace? It is also important that you set realistic work demands, to ensure that your workers do not have extra work to do after hours. You can guide your work demands using the SMART Goals framework; a tool that can be used to ensure the goals you set are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. The importance of maintaining good mental health cannot be underestimated. At any time, one in six adults will be suffering mental health issues. This can include conditions such as anxiety, depression, stress or even more serious ones like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. We all work better if we have clear goals that we are working towards, and mental health in the workplace is no different. Identify the key drivers for mental health, and the key indicators; figure out how to measure these and what level the company should achieve; and ensure these are an integral part of your company’s performance targets. Even though it may not be easy to become an employee-centric company addressing workplace wellbeing ideas it is of utmost importance in this day and age.
or complex. There is still a stigma associated with mental health problems, through a lack of understanding. Something that can lead to work-related mental health problems is when employees are not engaged when a business is undergoing change. The work environment is known to have a significant impact on employee mental wellness, productivity, job turnover and overall profits. Leaders can influence a healthy workplace environment by having an open-door policy, keeping employees informed of developments, departmental changes, business goals, and policies. These provide direction, build trust, and reduce employee stress. Suffice it to say, the corporate world needs to embrace better mental wellness solutions, before it’s too late. Thankfully, there are some useful solutions to be found. Supporting mental health at work is one of the smartest investments a company can make. When employees feel valued, they’ll be happier and more productive at work and lead more meaningful lives outside the office. Subjects such as managing employees with mental health issues can be tackled by getting the appropriate support in place.
Take Action At An Early Stage
With work forming such an important part of people’s lives, it’s imperative that employers do every they can to provide support in a time like no other. However, it's important to remember that most employers are not mental health professionals and it’s not their place to diagnose employees with illness. If an employee’s work declines or colleagues notice changes to their personality or mood, this can often indicate that something’s not quite right. They could be stressed from mounting debts, struggling with the loss of a loved one, or experiencing anxiety caused by difficulties at home. All of these factors impact on their mental wellbeing, which then affects their workplace performance. Awareness of mental health issues at work is growing, and employers are putting in place many positive interventions – from healthy food in Typically, when it comes to mental health problems, reasonable adjustments are small, inexpensive changes, such as more regular catch-ups with managers, a change of workspace, working hours, or breaks. If someone struggled with anxiety as a result of commuting in peak times, a reasonable adjustment could be that they start and finish work earlier or later, to avoid rush hour. Poor mental health is when we are struggling with low mood, stress or anxiety. This might mean we’re also coping with feeling restless, confused, short-tempered, upset or preoccupied. We all go through periods of experiencing poor mental health – mental health is a spectrum of moods and experiences and we all have times when we feel better or worse. Communication that emphasizes that leadership cares about concepts such as how to manage an employee with anxiety should be welcomed in the working environment.
There is typically a complex interplay between the pressures people face at work and those they face at home. For example, someone who has suffered a bereavement or a relationship breakdown may be temporarily unable to cope with a workload that under normal circumstances they find eminently manageable. The line manager's attitude and approach to supporting that individual can have a significant impact on their attendance, behaviour and performance. Leadership stoicism is a dangerous trend and unhelpful in the effort to create open workplace cultures. It is a strength for leaders to show vulnerability and courage as a role model in discussing mental health. It is discriminatory to make assumptions about people’s capabilities, promotion potential and the amount of sick leave they are likely to take, on the basis of their health. Employers must treat people with mental ill health exactly the same as they would any other member of staff. Feeling emotionally drained or stressed at work is directly correlated to distractions in the work environment, lost productivity, and uncertainty about the future. But failing to manage this stress properly can result in total burnout or lead to serious mental health issues like depression and anxiety. And that’s only half the equation. These mental health issues can cause physical problems, like high blood pressure and chronic diseases. Every organization will have different needs around mental health and as long as employers and employees work together, they can come up with a unique solution that works for them. Discussing ideas such as workplace wellbeing support is good for the staff and the organisation as a whole.
Performance Dips Caused By Mental Health Issues
Provide support for mental health issues as a colleague and have conversations with your peers. This is particularly valuable if someone feels they can’t speak to their manager, and determines your impact on your work culture. There is a large annual cost to employers from mental ill health of between £33 billion and £42 billion3 (with over half of the cost coming from presenteeism – when individuals are less productive due to poor mental health in work) with additional costs from sickness absence and staff turnover. Looking beyond the impact on work itself, I believe that bringing the conversation around mental health into the workplace (where most of us spend the majority of our time) in an authentic, supportive way can make a huge difference to those experiencing mental illness or chronic stress. Discover extra facts regarding Workplace Mental Health Programs on this Health and Safety Executive link.