Right now, many of our employees are experiencing a wide range of mental health challenges. These challenges are sometimes rooted in COVID, sometimes based on having to learn to do work in a virtual setting, and sometimes caused by other life events impacting our employees’ lives. It is important that we know the basics of mental health if we want to help retain our employees and help them flourish. All too often we can look at an employee who is suffering and who needs assistance and only see poor quality work, not considering why the work is not up to the level it once was.
The Role Mental Health Plays in the Workplace
Mental health has become a buzzword around many of our workplaces. Words such as mental health and mental wellness are being used more than ever before. We might wonder what effect employee mental health in the workplace might have on our organization. While mental health can look like a wide range of things some of common workplace challenges include issues with anxiety, depression, or burnout. Each mental health challenge has different signs and symptoms and different next steps for us to take.
Even though we might find that workplace mental health is complex, it is important to put in the time and energy to understand it, if we want our workers to be able to work at their highest levels. Studies have shown that one of the leading causes of repeated absence from work is stress or related mental health issues. We will not thrive as a business if our employees are always calling in sick or if our employees are distracted when they are at work. By focusing on our employees’ mental health, we are setting up our organization to thrive.
Depression Among Our Employees
If we find that an employee suddenly keeps not showing up it is possible that the employee is suffering with depression. This is vital for us to understand because sometimes a depressed employee will be misclassified as lazy if their work suddenly takes a downward turn. It is important for us to remember that an employee who is depressed might find it hard to get out of bed some mornings, let alone face lots of work projects.
It is important to recognize when an employee might be struggling and ask them about their mental wellbeing. For some of these employees being given a few days off, time to speak to a therapist each week, or a lighter workload in the short term can make a big difference. If we can meet employees where they are mentally, we can build their trust in and loyalty to our organization.
Stress and Burnout Among Our Employees
Stress negatively impacts the work performance of all our employees and high levels of stress can lead to burnout. Job burnout is a special type of work-related stress that involves a state of physical or emotional exhaustion leading to a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity. It is important that we help employees manage their stress because once it becomes burnout it can be very challenging to re-engage them.
Sometimes managing stress can involve examining workloads of our employees. Do we need to hire more staff to decrease everyone’s stress levels? Do we need to change the work culture so employees know that we expect their best work but understand that sometimes mistakes will happen and will not punish them if they have a bad day? Do we need to give staff a designated amount of time each week where they are encouraged to sit their work aside and do some self-care? We have the chance to be very creative when it comes to decreasing the stress levels of our employees.
Mental health plays a large role in how effective our employees are at work. Poor mental health is one of the major causes of call offs and absences. It is important that we consider the mental health of our employees and think about how we can create a work environment that supports their mental health. If we take care of our employees’ mental health, we will find that our employees are more excited to come to work and that the overall quality of their work will improve which is better for our bottom line.