The Importance of Good Mental Health In The Workplace?
Maintaining good mental health is crucial for overall well-being and equally essential in the workplace. With work-related stress and burnout on the rise, facilitating good mental health in the workplace has become more critical. The importance of good mental health in the workplace cannot be overstated, as it has numerous benefits for employees and employers.
Below are some reasons why having good mental health in the workplace is essential and how it can benefit employees, employers, and the organisation. We will also discuss some strategies employers can adopt to promote good mental health.
- Increased Productivity
Good mental health employees are likely to be engaged, motivated, and productive at work.
- Improved Employee Well-Being
Good mental health can improve well-being, including physical health, social functioning, and overall life satisfaction.
- Reduced Absenteeism and Presenteeism
Inadequate mental health can lead to raised absenteeism and presenteeism (attending work while unwell, which can negatively impact productivity and workplace morale.
- Cost Savings
Promoting good mental health in the workplace can aid in cost savings for employers by reducing absenteeism, presenteeism, and the costs associated with turnover and recruitment.
- Legal Requirements
Employers have a legal obligation to deliver a safe and healthy workplace, which includes addressing mental health concerns and creating a supportive work environment.
How Does Employee Mental Health Affect The Workplace?
Poor mental health can significantly impact the workplace in various ways. This table summarises how an employee’s mental health can affect the workplace regarding decreased productivity, absenteeism and presenteeism, workplace conflicts, high turnover rates, and workplace safety.
Employers must recognize the importance of promoting good mental health in the workplace and take steps to create a supportive work environment that addresses mental health concerns. By doing so, employers can foster a productive, positive, healthy workplace that benefits employees and the organisation.
|Effect on Workplace||Explanation|
|Decreased Productivity||Poor mental health can affect an employee’s ability to focus, make decisions, and perform their job responsibilities effectively, leading to decreased productivity.|
|Absenteeism and Presenteeism||Mental health concerns can lead to increased absenteeism (missing work) or presenteeism (attending work while unwell), which can negatively impact the quality of work and productivity.|
|Workplace Conflicts||Employees with poor mental health may have difficulty managing emotions and communicating effectively, leading to conflicts with coworkers or managers.|
|High Turnover Rates||Poor mental health can contribute to high turnover rates as employees may seek work elsewhere or take extended periods of leave.|
|Workplace Safety||In some cases, poor mental health can impact an employee’s ability to perform their job safely, leading to potential accidents or incidents.|
8 Work-Related Risk Factors That Can Harm Mental Health
Several work-related risk factors can harm mental health. Here are some common ones:
- High Job Demands
When a job demands too much from a person, it can lead to stress and burnout, harming mental health. For example, a nurse working in a hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic constantly works long hours, deals with an overwhelming number of patients, and manages critical care needs. This high level of job demands can lead to stress and burnout.
- Low Job Control
When employees have little control over their job tasks or decision-making, it can lead to helplessness and anxiety. An example would be an administrative assistant who is given a set of tasks to complete each day but has little say in how or when they are completed. This lack of control can lead to feelings of helplessness and anxiety.
- Lack of Social Support
Social support from colleagues and supervisors can be critical for mental health. Without it, employees can feel isolated and unsupported. To illustrate the point, an example would be a new employee who starts working in a large corporation and feels isolated and unsupported because they cannot connect with colleagues or receive feedback from their supervisor.
- Poor Organisational Culture
An organisation with a harmful or toxic culture can create a stressful and hostile work environment, harming mental health. This can be seen when a manager at a fast food restaurant frequently belittles and humiliates employees in front of others, creating a toxic work environment that can harm mental health.
- Job Insecurity
Fear of losing one’s job or having an unstable work situation can lead to anxiety and stress. For instance, a software developer worries about losing their job due to a recent company merger and is constantly checking job listings, leading to anxiety and stress.
- Shift Work and Long Hours
Irregular working hours and long shifts can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to fatigue, harming mental health. An example is a factory worker who must work 12-hour shifts that rotate daily and night, disrupting their sleep patterns and leading to fatigue and exhaustion.
- Workplace Harassment or Bullying
Experiencing harassment or bullying in the workplace can give way to anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns. For instance, an office worker is being targeted by a coworker who constantly comments negatively about their appearance and abilities, creating a hostile work environment that can harm mental health.
- Physical Work Environment
Exposure to physical hazards, noise, and other environmental factors can harm mental health. An example would be a construction worker who is exposed to high levels of noise and dust daily, which can lead to headaches, fatigue, and other health problems that can also affect their mental health.
8 Ways To Improve Mental Health In The Workplace
Enhancing mental health in the workplace is an intricate task that requires a comprehensive approach. Here are some measures that can be taken to facilitate mental well-being in the workplace:
- Create a Positive and Supportive Work Environment
Encourage open communication, show appreciation, and provide constructive feedback. Foster a culture of respect, empathy, and understanding.
- Provide Mental Health Resources
Offer mental health benefits such as counselling or therapy sessions, stress management workshops, and access to online resources.
- Encourage Work-Life Balance
Provide flexible work arrangements such as remote work or flexible schedules. Motivate employees to take breaks and prioritise their personal lives.
- Train Managers and Supervisors
Educate managers and supervisors on identifying and addressing mental health issues in the workplace. Provide resources and support for managers to help them promote mental health in their teams.
- Address Workplace Stress
Take steps to reduce stress, such as addressing workloads, workload management, and workplace conflicts.
- Encourage Physical Activity
Promote healthy lifestyle habits such as regular exercise, healthy eating, and mindfulness.
- Promote Social Connections
Encourage team building and social events that allow employees to connect and form supportive relationships.
- Normalise Mental Health Discussions
Encourage open and honest discussions about mental health in the workplace to lessen stigma and facilitate understanding.
Remember that promoting mental health in the workplace is a continuous operation that requires dedication and effort from employers and employees. By abiding by these steps, you can create a workplace environment that promotes mental well-being and supports the mental health of all employees.
5 Ways to Create a Positive Workplace
Employers must establish a supportive workplace culture for the entire team to get the best out of their staff. This is because people are more driven and perform better when they feel accepted, encouraged, and joyful.
Creating a joyful environment gives your work a feeling of purpose and produces committed performances. Also, managers have a duty to develop their team, not merely deliver excellent project results at any cost. These are five suggestions for making your team’s workplace enjoyable.
1. Show Appreciation
When an employee receives a compliment on a job well done, it makes them feel seen and appreciated, knowing the work done is satisfactory and achieved.
After that, express sincere gratitude towards the employees. When thanking your staff for their efforts, be more specific. Your detailed compliment will allow your staff members to recognise their strengths and focus on them more. Also, specific compliments demonstrate that you are paying attention and not just mumbling platitudes. People are more motivated to do well when they believe they are doing good work.
2. Having Meaningful Conversations
When you go out of your way to interact with your team members in person, one-on-one or a group setting, you’re developing a caring attitude that inspires people in all kinds of crazy-good ways. Ask your team members about their short-term goals, project interests, and long-term ambitions.
It’s simple to send quick emails and then rely on these little exchanges for most of your communication without getting to know the person on the other side. Everyone wants to feel that they matter, whether in the workplace or general. Conversations like these will help employees not feel alone.
3. Consider Everyone’s Suggestions
The fact that your team is constantly working while contributing their unique experiences and viewpoints to the area of the project they are concentrating on means that they all have excellent ideas on what can be done better or how to increase productivity. When you are aware of how well protocol works, it is tempting to stick with it.
Yet, because of how quickly things are changing, the old ways of doing specific tasks would need to change to keep up with the times. Employers can have a meeting or discussion where employees can share their new ideas. This will show everyone they are essential members of the team. In fact, the team might become more invested in their work and the project’s success.
4. Put Trust In Your Team Members
For some people, following this is more difficult than for others, as trust is fragile. Try to start with the presumption that your team members are competent, mature adults who accept responsibility and don’t require special treatment.
When you delegate, you should genuinely let go and allow the person receiving the assignment to take ownership of it. Requesting team members to make conclusions for their portion of the project is another way to convey trust.
5. Be Impulsive and Lighthearted
Even if everyone’s definition of “fun” varies, everyone wants to enjoy their time at work. Joy arises when people have a strong sense of community within a team that values open communication, respect for individual differences, and teamwork in pursuit of a common objective.
When teams get along well, it’s simpler to be impromptu and have some fun, whether at a last-minute party following a project launch or a quick break in the middle of the day to share stories and laugh about unrelated things to work.
The Price of Doing Nothing
The price of doing nothing to improve mental health at the workplace can be substantial. Employees not supported and provided with the resources to manage their mental health can experience lowered productivity, raised absenteeism, and a lack of motivation. This can decrease job satisfaction, impacting the company’s bottom line.
In addition to the financial cost, the cost of doing nothing to improve mental health at the workplace can also profoundly impact the working environment. Employees needing help with their mental health may be less likely to participate in team activities, leading to decreased collaboration.
Left unaddressed, these issues can also lead to an increase in turnover, as employees may decide to leave the organisation to find an environment more supportive of their mental health.
Research studies have found that mental health in the workplace is an increasingly important issue. One study found that employees who reported better mental health had higher job performance, fewer safety incidents, and increased productivity. Other analyses have found that employees with mental health matters such as depression, anxiety, and burnout are more likely to experience job dissatisfaction and decreased work performance.
Additionally, research has shown that implementing workplace mental health initiatives such as providing access to mental health services, promoting open communication, and creating a positive work environment can improve mental health and overall job satisfaction.
What Can Be Done?
To tackle this issue, employing a mental health platform can be beneficial in improving mental health in the workplace. A comprehensive mental health platform can provide workplace mental health solutions to employers and employees. They can provide various services to help companies create a healthier, happier, and more productive workplace.