Experts estimate that nearly one in seven people experience mental health problems at their workplace. In fact, over 12% of all sickness absence days in the UK are related to mental health concerns, costing employers up to £8 billion a year.
If you want to provide the best employee care, a mental health programme isn’t optional. Your employees need to feel free to discuss mental health matters in a safe, judgment-free environment. They also need the assurance of support if they’re struggling to achieve a healthy work-life balance.
How much emphasis have you placed on your employees’ mental health? Why does this topic belong at the top of your priority list?
Keep reading to learn why mental health matters in the workplace and what you can (and should) do about it.
1. Stress Levels Are at an All-Time High
Newsflash: 2020 ranks as one of the most stressful years in human history.
For many of us, 2021 wasn’t much better. Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re still dealing with lockdowns, economic uncertainty, and the loss of loved ones. Many who have lost their jobs are struggling to get new ones, while others worry about keeping the job they have.
Stress isn’t technically a mental illness, but we’re surrounded by it in and out of the workplace. Without adequate relief, it can evolve into depression, anxiety, and a number of physical ailments.
It’s no wonder that 60% of adults in the UK say their mental health has worsened since the pandemic began. The UN adds that even after the pandemic passes, many mental health problems will linger.
Of course, some stress is healthy, and it’s impossible to eliminate it entirely. But when your body remains in “fight or flight” mode for prolonged periods of time, it can wreak havoc on every aspect of your life. Insomnia, irritability, depression, and anxiety are just some of the byproducts that can affect employee health and performance.
2. Mental Health Is No Longer a Taboo Subject
If you travelled back to the 1950s, you’d find the topic of mental health surrounded by extreme fear, shame, and stigma. People were simply labelled as ‘lunatics’ and sent off to asylums with little hope of recovery.
Fortunately, society has come a long way since then. Although it’s still an uncomfortable topic for some, it’s more acceptable than ever for people to speak out about their illness and seek the support they need.
As an employer, you can help to fill this need by educating your employees about mental health in the workplace. This will help them to feel secure enough to discuss their own needs as well as assist others who are struggling.
3. Good Mental Health Is Linked to Better Performance
Mental health is more than just the absence of mental illness. It’s possible to have poor mental health without having an illness. You can have also good mental health even if you’re diagnosed with mental illness.
The truth is that mental health and human performance are not two separate pursuits. Rather, they’re two parts of the same equation. Combined, they’re what make us flourish — both in the workplace and in our personal lives.
When our mental health is good, it allows us to:
- Better deal with challenges
- Recognise and regulate our emotions
- Empathise with other people
- Manage our stress in healthy ways
- Cope with changing roles and responsibilities
- Flourish in a professional setting
- Reach our highest personal potential
Understanding mental health as it relates to the workplace is the first step you can take towards prioritising employee care.
4. Poor Mental Health Leads to Poor Performance
On the other side of the coin, untreated mental health problems can have a disastrous effect on your employees. Everything from poor management practices to job insecurity can wreak havoc on your employees’ performance.
You may begin to notice issues such as:
- Lack of focus
- Decreased productivity
- Social anxiety
- Memory lapses
- Negative attitude
- Passive-aggressive comments
- Poor decision making
- Missing deadlines
- Showing up late or unprepared
- Lack of impulse control
- Overreacting to trivial matters
If you think this could only happen to one or two of your employees, think again. Studies show that one in four British people are affected by mental health problems at some point in their lives. This is yet another reason why mental health matters in the workplace — and why you should make it a priority.
5. Many Employees Struggle With Work-Life Balance
A final reason to consider a mental health programme is to help your employees achieve a healthy work-life balance.
This phrase encompasses the idea of a person who equally prioritises the demands of their job with the demands of their personal life. Any number of things can throw off this delicate balance, from increased responsibilities at work to taking care of young children or a sick family member.
You may not be able to solve your employees’ personal problems, but you can empower them by giving them the tools they need to cope.
Make your company a place where they love to come to work — not a place they dread. If possible, offer work-from-home options or a flexible schedule so they can do their job when it’s most convenient for them. Most importantly, encourage open, honest communication if they’re struggling with any aspect of their mental or emotional health.
Mental Health Matters (And So Do Your Employees)
As a responsible employer, no doubt you’ve gone to great lengths to care for your employees’ physical health needs. But, as we’ve discussed in this article, mental health matters too.
A subject that was taboo for so long has now moved into the spotlight. Business owners realise that their employees’ mental and emotional needs also need to be met before they can perform at their peak. And with stress levels at an all-time high — both in and out of the workplace — all of us need help finding that ideal work-life balance.
What can you do to prioritise mental health in your place of business? Fill in your details below and we’ll send you our FREE brochure ‘How To Improve Workplace Mental Health’
To help you implement the best mental health programme for your employees give us a call at 0118 954 0047.