I was working in the bedroom last week looking into Mental Health In The Workplace Mediations and I wrote this blog post. Do you like it?
Talking about stress management, self-care, and mental health in meetings and in email communications can reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. When employees trust you won't call them "crazy" for having a panic attack or fire them when they're struggling with depression, they'll be more willing to seek treatment. And fortunately, most mental health conditions are very treatable. Lots of employees don’t hesitate to ask for time off work for a dentist appointment for example, but many are shy when it comes to discussing and addressing their mental health needs. Make it clear that you support your employee’s efforts to take care of their minds just as much as their bodies. Allow a flexible work schedule to allow for employees to attend counselling appointments, or offer staff a mental health day when it is needed. Encourage your staff to single-task instead of multitasking. Research shows that when people are constantly picking up their phone, checking their emails and jumping from task to task they become less productive. The cost of poor mental health to Government is between £24 billion and £27 billion. This includes costs in providing benefits, falls in tax revenue and costs to the NHS. Estimations regarding the costs of mental health absences to employers vary, but an article from HR Magazine back in September 2015 quotes a report from UK Chief Medical Officer Sally Davies which found "70 million working days are lost each year due to stress, depression and other mental health conditions. This costs the UK economy between £70 and £100 billion a year." The enthusiastic support and involvement of leaders and managers is evident and employees understand their employers’ commitment to creating a workplace that is mental health-friendly.
While companies taking employees’ mental health issues seriously is crucial, it’s not enough to simply release a mental health inclusion statement or mandate. There are real effective measures companies can put into place that show a more consistent and meaningful commitment. Everyone is responsible for keeping a good work-life balance. That includes employers. Employees with mental health conditions can be supported to be productive at work by considering the inherent requirements of the job, individual skills, capability and personal circumstances and making reasonable adjustments to support people to perform the role. Most staff who experience mental ill health will recover and return to being a valuable and productive member of the team. However on some occasions, even with adjustments in place, a team member's performance, conduct or continued absence may warrant further action. Similarly to any change that happens within organizations, discussions around workplace wellbeing ideas need planning and implementing properly.
Handling Sensitive Conversations
Talking to real people anonymously in a safe environment is an essential part of managing mental health in the workplace and often preventative – helping people express themselves before feelings become overwhelming. The stigma associated with having a psychiatric disorder is so high that people choose to suffer rather than talk about it. And this stigma is much more prevalent in the workplace. Employees are much more reluctant to share because they are afraid of jeopardizing their career and losing their jobs. Another major reason for keeping it hushed is the fear of discrimination and bullying by coworkers. Many employers are already creating healthy, inclusive workplaces, but more needs to be done so that employers provide the support needed for employees with mental health conditions. There has been a lot written about how to tackle mental ill health and promote wellbeing in the workplace. On one hand, research shows that smokers are twice as likely to take time off work, and workers with obesity take three to six sick days more than those of normal weight annually. On the other hand, employees that handle stress better are less likely to experience burnout. Overall, when employee wellbeing is optimized, employees are more focused on their work and their productivity increases. Discussing ideas such as how to manage an employee with anxiety is good for the staff and the organisation as a whole.
Most mental health issues are left untreated because employees don't recognize the signs and symptoms. They may pass off their issues as "stress" or they may try to convince themselves their problems will go away on their own. Mental ill health is estimated to cost UK businesses £35 billion annually and is the leading cause of sickness absence in the UK, with 127 million hours of work lost in 2015 due to mental health-related absence – the equivalent of around 75,000 individuals losing the entire working year. It’s important to take action on mental health now. The World Health Organisation predicts that depression will be the world’s most common illness by 2030 and suggests the global burden of the condition will be greater than for illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Mental health is your emotional, psychological and social well-being. It can therefore affect every stage of life and impact how you think, feel and act. Mental health and mental illness cannot be compartmentalized, and therefore are workplace issues. Don't forget to send out proper internal communications around managing employees with mental health issues in your organisation.
Take Action To Support Mental Health
Employers should adopt the principles of the HSE Stress Management Standards for employees or groups of employees that it is felt may be affected by stress. Taking steps to encourage employees to disclose symptoms and concerns will enable managers to respond effectively to health concerns of staff under their care. This will not only help staff cope and stay well in work, but hopefully also reduce the time off needed - increasing productivity and improving staff moral. Approximately 30% of the variation in service delivery outcomes at a team level is attributable to organisational climate, specifically, the quality of supportive leadership and people management practices. How people are treated and managed on a day-to-day basis is central to their mental well-being and engagement, as well as the level of trust in the employment relationship. The behaviours of line managers will, to a large degree, determine the extent to which employees will go the extra mile in their jobs, are resilient under pressure and remain loyal to their organisation. To create healthy workplaces, we must encourage people to come forward and share their experiences. When employees feel that sharing about mental illnesses won’t damage their career, they will feel comfortable to share the challenges they face with you. Moreover, once they get the support from their leaders, they might also encourage their peers to come forward with the challenges they are facing and seek help. Subjects such as employers duty of care mental health can be tackled by getting the appropriate support in place.
Boost your team’s mental wellbeing, by implementing some simple healthy workplace practices. For office workers you should encourage your employees to frequently break long sitting periods, as this has been shown to enhance mood and boost energy levels. You could also encourage exercise and regular social events to boost the physical and mental wellbeing of your staff. Employee health and wellbeing is no longer viewed as fluff like Pilates, fruit or an added perk for an organisation. It’s now an essential component of a workforce strategy. While identifying work-related risks and taking preventative measures should help minimise stress for most staff, it may still affect some team members due to issues inside or outside of the workplace. Managers should be prepared to help and support a team member experiencing stress. Whether an employee is experiencing marital issues or insomnia, EAPs can help employees deal with the issues that detract from their performance. But they need reassurance that it's free of charge and completely confidential. When someone shares that they’re struggling, you won’t always know what to say or do. What’s most important is to make space to hear how your team members are truly doing and to be compassionate. They may not want to share much detail, which is completely fine. Knowing that they can is what matters. Organisations can make sure their employee benefits package provides support for workplace wellbeing support today.
Use Mediation To Resolve Any Conflict
You might not want to discuss your mental health with your manager or work colleagues but you might need some support when working. This could mean counselling, mentoring or reasonable adjustments in the workplace. Promoting health and preventing harm to mental health and wellbeing is important because it’s the smart thing to do: promoting mental health and preventing harm makes good business sense for a high performing organisation. Isolation, uncertainty and a lack of structure can rapidly drain morale, motivation and productivity while we’re working from home. But with the right blueprint, you can start getting on top of these issues right away. You can check out further facts regarding Mental Health In The Workplace Mediations at this Health and Safety Executive entry.
- Created: 21-04-22
- Last Login: 21-04-22