Most of us are still reeling from the struggles we endured as we lived at the height of the pandemic. Some of us are still experiencing the effects of those difficult times in a variety of ways. These include financial instability, concern over our physical health (and those of our loved ones), and the stress felt as the workforce began to transition from working at home to working in the office once again.
All of the troubles we’ve endured resulted in grave consequences to our mental well-being: anxiety due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, depression, and loneliness from being confined and isolated at home, and so on. But now, much of the workforce is experiencing stress and are at risk of burnout due to the heightened demands at work since the transition.
The question remains: why should we prioritize mental health at work?
Mental health, just like physical health, is a factor that determines an employee’s ability to work and contribute good outcomes in their respective organizations. Think about it this way: if an employee has come down with the flu, we don’t expect them to show up or exert themselves at work as they should be focusing on getting better. So, if they are suffering from mental health issues, such as depression or burnout, why should we expect them to still perform at their best?
Furthermore, employees who suffer from poor mental health experience a decrease in productivity, job performance, communication skills and teamwork, engagement, and job satisfaction.
Today, a large amount of psychological research exists to prove the importance of providing mental health coverage, flexible work options, and equity in the workplace - which are all key in fostering a psychologically-safe work environment. A work environment that promotes mental well-being through positive and supportive practices can boost employee well-being, company morale, engagement, and a general feeling of safety.
Organizations could help promote mental health in the workplace by:
Setting up appropriate services to help vulnerable employees.
Training leaders to gain awareness of common mental health issues in the workplace, learn to determine when a team member is struggling, and offer support and guidance.
Cultivating a work culture that encourages open communication and is free from judgment.
Companies who ensure that their workers feel safe, supported, and heard reap the benefits of mentally-healthy work culture. In return, their employees see work as something that brings them joy and growth, rather than one that is a burden that only adds to the struggles they are already experiencing in their personal lives.
- AlertMedia. (2022, March 17). Why You Should Prioritize Mental Health in the Workplace. Retrieved from: https://www.alertmedia.com/blog/mental-health-in-workplace/
- DeBara, D. (2022, January 12). Why You Should Make Mental Health a Priority in the Workplace. Hourly.io. Retrieved from: https://www.hourly.io/post/mental-health-in-the-workplace
- Novotney, A. (2022, October 21). Why mental health needs to be a top priority in the workplace. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from: https://www.apa.org/news/apa/2022/surgeon-general-workplace-well-being