Pre-COVID-19, employees spent more time in the workplace; however, today, the new normal includes remote working, so fewer people are in the office on any given day. Is this good or bad, you may ask. From a mental health perspective, fewer people may mean less stress and interruptions. However, with many remote employees working remotely, is mental health in the workplace front and center now, or has it been sidestepped in preference of other HR requirements?
Mental health hasn’t consistently been recognized in the workplace. However, there is a link between how people feel and their productivity, whether in the office or working from home.
Businesses recognize the need to have mental health policies and other key focuses, including DEI to foster reputable company culture and productivity. Teamwork needs every team member to be cognizant of mental health and cultural sensitivities.
Even before the pandemic 1 in 6 employees is said to be dealing with a mental health problem, with work-related stress often found more in women. However, men are more susceptible to substance abuse, like excessive alcohol consumption.
Avoiding Negative Episodes
Understanding what can trigger negative episodes can empower the business to take action and support staff struggling with mental conditions.
Furthermore, ensuring employees recognize the signs of their mental health and encouraging them to manage it empowers them and improves their confidence.
In this blog, we go further into what you can do to deal with mental health in the workplace.
Dealing With Mental Health Problems At Work
Anxiety, stress, and depression are all different mental health states.
Events like pandemics may become a regular occurrence now there is a link to climate change. Any event that threatens the norm can trigger vulnerable staff who find even simple tasks difficult to manage when facing their internal crisis.
Suppose the business is going through organizational change or is dealing with workplace sexism and the gender pay gap. In that case, employees with existing conditions may struggle with their mental health management plan.
Some staff will take time off work to deal with stress or depression when it gets too hard. For businesses, it is essential to promote positivity and support in order to maintain an efficient and optimistic work environment.
Under The Influence Of Stress
Employees and employers must be able to recognize when someone might be under particular stress or feeling down. Often employees will suffer in silence, especially if the choice is between telling a manager. Many staff members will feel highly uncomfortable sharing their personal feelings; this is part of a workplace culture that you can change, given time.
Taking positive steps
It is down to whole teams and departments to help change the office, warehouse, or work environment.
Ensure support processes are in place and that there is a system where staff turn to internal or external counsellors open to listening and helping with their mental health struggles.
Promote your business’s commitment to supporting its workers with mental health issues. All employees need support when they are not feeling on top of the world. How can your business show it cares? Through open communication. Acknowledging when a worker is not their usual happy self is a good start. When you have an inclusive company culture, employees are encouraged to reach out to each other to show their support. For example, workers can ask their colleagues questions when they suspect all is not well with them:
- How are you today?
- Is there anything I can do to help you?
- Would you like to have a chat about what’s troubling you?
Lead By Example
Senior staff and management must lead from the top down. Make time to inform staff of health management strategies and events, and leaders within the business can participate, showing the team it’s okay to take time to deal with stress and other mental health conditions.
It is also crucial that senior members of staff remain approachable. Whether being a trusted confidante or being able to put your colleagues in touch with the right support network, taboos and stigma must continue to be broken between staff.
The company culture can be caring and show empathy where any employee can ask someone if they are okay and suggest they meet for a chat over a cup of tea or coffee!
As life progresses, more pandemics and events will threaten or challenge our existence. Change is inevitable, and we all need to know how to embrace it in our own way.
As a business owner, you want your staff to show up for work happy and mentally able to perform, so you have a role in ensuring a company-wide strategy and solution for supporting all teams at work.