Safeguarding Mental Health In The Workplace

November 18, 2022

Our general health and happiness can be significantly impacted by our work. While having a job can boost one's self-esteem and status and give them a sense of identity, working in a toxic atmosphere can have the exact opposite impact. Long hours, inadequate staffing, an ever-increasing workload, a hostile environment that encourages bullying and harassment, poor management communication, and a lack of training are examples of typical work-related issues.

Even though most of the world has lifted restrictions during the pandemic, life hasn’t yet been able to get back to what was previously known to be normal. The term “new normal'' continues to be used in these unprecedented times. While our recovery seems to have picked up the pace, a looming recession threatens to undo a lot of meaningful work. This frenzy has led to panic with employees doing all they can to keep their job but nothing to safeguard mental health

Employees are typically the backbone of any firm, and it is through their continuous efforts many organizations advance. Discover how you can properly support your employees' mental health in the blog - safeguarding mental health in the workplace.

What exactly is workplace mental health?

The World Health Organization defines "employee mental health" as the collective term for people's psychological, social, and emotional well-being at work. The idea aids in defining how a person evaluates their own surroundings, deals with pressures and other circumstances, and ultimately succeeds or fails at work.

According to the WHO, 15% of working-age persons have a mental condition, yet more than 50% of the world's population is currently employed. Without adequate support, mental illnesses and other mental health conditions can have an impact on a person's ability to work successfully, ability to manage absences, and ease of retaining or obtaining employment. Depression and anxiety alone cost the world 12 billion working days annually. Furthermore, despite the fact that employment is crucial for recovery, those with serious mental illnesses are frequently excluded from it. Families, caregivers, coworkers, communities, and society at large can all be impacted by mental health issues. Each year, depression and anxiety cost the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity.

The coronavirus's effects on workers' mental health

Supporting your employees' mental health is vital at all times, but it is especially crucial right now as more employees are dealing with mental health issues like anxiety and despair. Within the first two weeks of the epidemic, depression and anxiety diagnoses among Firefly Health patients increased by three times, according to Caroline Ogilvy, a qualified independent clinical social worker, and behavioral health specialist. 

Businesses have been forced to make difficult decisions, including changing their company plans, laying off workers, putting them on furlough, and even shutting down. As a result, employees have had to change while also coping with personal challenges. Many workers are experiencing the psychological repercussions of isolation and confinement because quarantine and work-from-home restrictions are still in place in a number of jurisdictions. According to a new FinanceBuzz survey, almost half of employees say they feel lonely.

Many employees are experiencing these mental health issues for the first time, which could be bad for your team. In terms of performance and productivity, employee mental health is always crucial for both the employee and the employer. As a business owner, it is crucial that you pay attention to the warning signals and provide your staff with the help that they require.

Warning signs employees show to detect mental health depreciation

When a person is struggling with mental illness at work, there are sometimes unnoticeable indications that emerge. They frequently have difficult interpersonal interactions with coworkers, are more prone to miss work, and may be unable to concentrate. Many of them will also decide not to seek help because they are afraid of being judged as weak or incompetent. This prevents them from getting the support they need.

By organizing programs on mental well-being, managers may help employees safeguard their mental wellness by keeping an eye out for symptoms of stress, weariness, or sadness. However, it's crucial to avoid making snap judgments because there can be other factors at work.

What can we do to promote mental health at work?

You have a responsibility as leaders to treat this matter with the same amount of attention that we have given to safety throughout the years. If we don't take proactive steps to promote wellness, according to the World Health Organization, mental illness will overtake physical sickness as the major cause of disability and absence from work by 2030. The moment has come to make the same kind of investment in our people's mental health that we have made over the years in ensuring their safety.

Senior management must make a deliberate intervention in this, and members must fully support it. To convince top leaders to invest in this issue and to prevent or reduce hidden costs, such as the inability to attract, retain, and engage talent, a commercial case, a moral rationale, or both must be made.

Measures you can take to safeguard mental health at your workplace

  1. Educate your team

You as the employer can help foster a welcoming workplace environment. If you haven't already, organize a meeting company-wide to discuss the pandemic and how it has impacted mental health. Train your staff on better self-care, lowering work-related stress, and preventing burnout. Hiring a mental health expert to speak about these subjects and respond to any concerns that staff members might have might be advantageous.

Employing a mental health specialist to give employees sessions describing good mental health promotion practices and warning signals that it might be time to seek professional treatment might encourage workers to take steps to improve their own mental health.

  1. Organize routine check-in meetings.

It's crucial to routinely check in with your employees because mental wellness can swiftly fluctuate. It is also advised that each department manager plan one-on-one meetings with the members of their team following the holding of a company-wide meeting. Here, the manager can go through any additional concerns the worker might have and go over the specifics of the company's mental health benefits. Including a regular discussion of mental health in your check-ins can also help reduce some of the stigma surrounding the subject.

  1. Promote good self-care.

Employees could be reluctant to request time off or to discuss any difficulties they are having. Encourage self-care and set an example for your team members to help them prioritize their mental health. To help your staff mentally recharge, you might want to organize team breaks or offer paid time off for mental wellness days. Give everyone in the company a designated time for a formal meeting. This makes sure that everyone takes a 30-minute break together, both physically and mentally, without going back to accumulating unread emails and Slack messages.

  1. Encourage effective communication.

When several people are working remotely, communication is crucial. Being "out of sight, out of mind" is easy to get into, so having a remote staff makes it much more important to maintain clear regular communication. Clearly and compassionately discuss your company's present rules and available mental health treatment choices with your staff. Know who to direct your employees to if they have questions.

  1. Introduce supporting policies and tools for workplace mental health.

You may provide your staff with a number of resources for mental health help. You want to provide your team with resources including an employee assistance program (EAP), bereavement leave, grief counseling, and a directory of therapists, psychiatrists, and mental health facilities that are a part of your network. Regardless of the resources you provide for employee wellness and mental health, make sure they are updated and uncomplicated to use.

To Conclude

While working can frequently contribute to good mental health, there are a number of workplace variables that might convert this benefit into a liability. Employers should make deliberate efforts to create a friendly workplace that improves the lives of their employees and promotes mental wellness.

According to experts, encouraging mental health at work gives people the ability to integrate professional demands with their personal needs for well-being. It is your duty as leaders to develop the plan and support the surroundings that make that possible.

Chezuba understands the need for having a well-rounded employee engagement program and has designed the best platform for your employees to give back to society in the form of corporate volunteerism. With more nonprofits from across the globe and a myriad of causes and skills to choose from, your employees and organization can benefit largely from Chezuba’s gamified corporate volunteering platform. Book a free demo with Chezuba to learn more.

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