The importance of mental health at the workplace cannot be overstated. According to the World Health Organisation, 15% of all working-age adults were estimated to have a mental disorder in 2019. Likewise, research cited by the UK-based Mental Health Foundation suggests that 1 in 6.8 or 14.7% people experience mental health problems at the workplace.
Ensuring mental wellbeing at the workplace not only benefits employees in all aspects of their life, but is also beneficial to companies – research suggests a strong link between wellbeing at the workplace and increased work productivity.
What is Mental Health at the Workplace?
Mental health at the workplace refers to varied facets of employees’ wellbeing -psychological, emotional, and social – within the work environment. A sound mental health refers to a state of mind in which an individual can work productively, reach their maximum potential, build positive relationships with co-workers, and cope with the everyday challenges and responsibilities faced at the workplace.
- Mental health denotes more than the absence of mental illness. It encompasses self-acceptance, social wellbeing, ability to cope with daily stressors, and a sense of purpose in life.
- Mental health at the workplace plays a key role in contributing towards employee engagement, productivity, satisfaction and retention.
- Certain workplace factors may adversely affect employee mental health. These include lack of work-life balance, poor communication practices, job insecurity, and inadequate health and safety policies at the workplace.
- Both employees and employers can take proactive steps to look after and improve mental wellness at the workplace.
Tips to Improve Mental Wellness at Work
Here are a few tips for employees and employers to boost mental health at the workplace.
|Tips for Employees||Tips for Employers|
|Share your experiences and anxieties with other co-workers. Just talking and being listened to can help you feel emotionally supported and less isolated||Encourage employee autonomy to create a sense of purpose and accomplishment.|
|Participate in employer-sponsored programs and activities that meet your needs and preferences||Promote more sustainable ways of working. Allow flexibility in a hybrid work model to ensure better work-life balance|
|Take care of your physical health by engaging in regular physical activities, eating healthy, and getting adequate sleep.||Educate and sensitise employees and managers on basic health practices. Conduct open discussions on mental health problems, run workshops on self-care, prioritising, & goal-setting, and make mental health self-assessment tools such as quizzes and questionnaires available to employees|
|Choose a company with an office where you can be happy. Elegant offices that are conveniently located, have a vibrant work community, are surrounded by greenery, and have dedicated zones for relaxation activities typically make for happier workplaces.||Provide a comfortable work environment with adequate relaxation spaces in which workers can unwind.|
While mental health awareness is oftentimes overlooked, it’s actually a key leadership skill that is critical to the long-term success of any business or organisation. Leaders must display an overall sensitivity to employee well-being. For instance, a leader should be able to spot and address a team member facing personal challenges. Unaddressed, their anxiety could seep into their work-life, impacting team productivity and cohesion. Additionally, organisations and businesses must make sure they provide a positive work experience to their employees. A workplace that is dank, over-crowded, poorly lit or ventilated, and unsanitary could easily have an adverse impact on employee mental and physical health.
A healthy and thriving company culture is ultimately rooted in the mental health of its employees. Mentally healthy professionals play a key role in establishing an amicable and supportive work community and company culture – a happier workplace in other words.