People tend to openly discuss certain types of issues in a workplace such as lack of opportunity for growth, the absence of team work, poor communication and other such topics that relate to the organisations culture or way of doing things.
What is not so commonly discussed, is the mental health within a business. Even though awareness has grown considerably around mental wellbeing in the workplace, it can still be a subject avoided and met with mixed response.
Mental health isn’t simply employees being, upbeat, motivated and positive. Rather it’s how people cope with the everyday stresses of their work and the environment they work in.
There are certainly things that can contribute to a workplace environment which can put strain on employee’s mental health. These include; secrecy, disrespect, scrambling due to disorganisation and a tense reactive atmosphere. When people find themselves immersed in an unhealthy environment day after day, it can take its toll.
Other factors than can affect mental health at work, is when people feel they have little direction. They may feel they are not being productive, having no goal or vision, resulting in people feeling lost. Not knowing if their job is secure can also have a detrimental effect.
What can make the situation worse, is when mental health is a taboo topic within the organisation. To this day, people commonly feel they will show weakness talking about their mental health at work, whether it’s a pre-existing issue that’s being triggered by the work environment or a mental health issue brought about by the workplace.
When people don’t dare mention their mental state in fear of people thinking they are unstable and are a liability, they struggle silently with their work impacted negatively. It may also become such an issue, they take it home with them, life affecting personal relationships and leisure time.
Fostering a high level of mental health in the workplace can have many benefits. Improved work relationships, increased productivity, reduced staff turnover and employees taking less time off as ‘mental health days’.
Businesses must make mental health conversations a safe topic. Recognising there are very good people within their teams, who cope with things differently. Also giving people the opportunity to bring adverse conditions to the attention of leaders, so as to minimise these environmental factors.
With increased awareness and openness, people can go from dreading spending hours each day in an unhealthy environment, to feeling supported and don’t mind giving that little bit extra effort in return.