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Mental Health Issue at Work and How to Solve It

October 12, 2018

People said that happiness is key to everything in life. In the workplace, more than a positive state of mind, happiness motivates employees to perform better and increase productivity. Happier employees will work harder and be able to collaborate better with their coworkers. Unfortunately, the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that there are 300 million people worldwide suffering from depression. The organisation estimates that depression can cost the global economy up to US$ 1 trillion each year.

While the effect of mental health issue can be harmful for business, new research found that 60.2 percent employees still feel embarrassed about admitting that they suffer from mental health to their employers and 60.8 percent cannot reveal such issue to their boss. Business leaders need to pay attention to this case and take necessary to help employees with mental health issues. Unless employers start to encourage their workers to look after their health and promote work-life balance, it could result in hampering productivity and even high employee turnover.

See also: Work-flexibility Giving a Boost to Employees’ Productivity

Further, WHO presents risks of mental health at work which can result on:

  • low quality of health and safety policies;
  • poor communication and management practices;
  • limited participation in decision-making;
  • low levels of support for employees;
  • inflexible working hours; and
  • unclear tasks or organizational objectives.

All in all, mental health continues to be a challenge for every company to face. Key factors of mental health issue usually derive from unhealthy environment at work such as negative working atmosphere, bullying, and harassment. That being said, creating a healthy and supportive environment is crucial to help combat mental health at the workplace. A healthy environment can cause relaxation and overcome anxiety disorder, especially if the nature of business requires employees to always be under pressure.

Richard Hardyment, a director at Corporate Citizenship, proposed three ways of creating a healthy environment at work. In his book called The Wellbeing Purpose, he has summed up the three vital sources to wellbeing.

First step is to create jobs. Jobs provide meaning and purposes in life and it is a lot better than being unemployed. Particularly, jobs that offer flexibility and autonomy are the most wanted among employees and jobseekers as it will give them a stress-free responsibility. Setting up programmes to help employees develop their career growth will result in increasing employee productivity and happier work life.

Second step is health. Informing employees that help is available can be a big step to overcome mental health issue. Encouraging a regular health assessment, exercises, nutritious foods and free healthcare, facilitating the implementation and enforcement of health and safety policies and practices will be a plus for your company. A healthy step can make employees happier as they feel secure and assured which later will result to their productivity.

Last step is connectivity. There is no doubt that both professional and personal relationship with coworkers at work affects how we feel all the time. Making office buddy can reduce loneliness and can be a good solution to overcome mental health issue. Furthermore, involving employee in a decision making, giving them feeling of control and participation will support a healthy work-life balance.

In conclusion, mental health issue should be a concern for every business leader. A poor solution can damage the entire company as unhappy employees tend to perform poorly and this will affect directly to productivity and business growth. Therefore, creating a healthy and happy work environment is important. As Herb Kelleher says “if the employees come first, then they’re happy. A motivated employee treats the customer well. The customer is happy so they keep coming back, which pleases the shareholders. It’s not one of the enduring green mysteries of all time, it is just the way it works.”

Read also: More Singaporeans Opt to Work Freelance Despite Having High-paid and Stable Job

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