Do you see an increase in staff attrition? What if your employees are stressed out? Depressed? You might not know an exact answer. Because no one talks about mental health in the workplace. Why?
Mental health is a serious issue and not easy to find out if someone is battling with psychological issues. No one drops a mail saying “I’m down with anxiety or panic attack” it is not as easy as talking about food poisoning or viral fever. Stigma remains even though there are mental health movies, Tv shows, and celebrities spreading awareness about different mental illnesses.
So, employers must create a culture that supports mental health in the workplace. Prioritizing psychological wellbeing will make your employees feel safer and open up about their problems and deal better.
In this regard, this post covers why workplace mental health matters, some effective ways, employers can improve mental health in the workplace, and essential tips for employees to improve their psychological wellbeing at work.
Why workplace mental health matters
Do you know depression has turned out to be the leading cause of disability worldwide? Every year 200 million workdays are lost due to depression at a cost to employers of $17 to $44 billion. According to data obtained from the Conference Board of Canada, employees with a high-stress level miss twice as many workdays when compared to employees with lower stress levels.
When people are mentally ill, it hampers their work to a great extent. Mental health issues like stress, anxiety lowers interest in work, make them less focused and engaged as a result they tend to be less productive.
That’s not all! Poor mental health has detrimental effects on physical health like poor sleep, hormonal imbalance, heart disease, indigestion, stroke, and many more. And the result is more sick leaves and high absenteeism, which cost employers money.
Thus, mental health in the workplace matters very much and it is important for business leaders to take action.
What are the best ways employers can improve mental health in the workplace?
1. Feel free to talk about mental health in the workplace
The Meghan Markle Interview that went viral recently clearly established a point that speaking about mental health struggles is not “attention-seeking” but “support-seeking”. She said that it’s 2021 and there are many people across the world who still believe mental health issues are just myths. Mental health stigma is the root cause that so many people are suffering in silence. Stop the taboo!
If you want to support your staff or workplace colleague speak candidly about mental health, stress management, self-care in meetings and emails. Share your personal experiences or opinions about movies and TV shows based on mental health without shame during fun Friday sessions.
2. Create a mentally healthy workspace for employees
Is your workplace ambiance uplifting? Do employees feel energized? Are you offering them a comfortable workstation? Have you shared clear guidance on priorities and what is expected of employees?
If no, then it’s time to create a mentally healthy workspace. When people feel work in a comfortable office space -with natural light, mood calming ambiance, positive features like plants, adjustable chairs, and desks – they are more productive and enjoy a greater sense of well-being.
3. Be consistent and positive in your efforts
Consistency is the key to achieve any goal in life. If you want to improve mental health in the workplace, create a culture and atmosphere of open conversation about mental health. When you do notice an employee with signs of irritation or low mood, don’t hesitate to ask them if everything is alright. Remind them that you’re there to help and that they have access to assistive resources.
Educate your managers about the signs and symptoms of different mental health problems. Provide proper training so that they respond to employees appropriately. A caring conversation between a supervisor and an employee can do wonders. It will encourage an individual to get help.
Make employees feel understood and appreciated. People treating mental illness the same as physical illness is a long way to go. It’s not an overnight process, so take one step a day! Promote psychological wellness one small step at a time through webinars or monthly wellness programs.