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Mental Health In The Workplace Is Critical To Build A Productive Team

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Mental Health In The Workplace Is Critical To Build A Productive Team
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Today, mental health and well-being are critical components of every successful workplace. The past two years' events have undoubtedly been challenging in several ways. Along with the usual stresses of life, our society has also been affected by COVID-19 and its variants, social isolation, the new norm of remote labor, uncertainty about racial injustice, escalating political unrest, rising recession and inflation, quiet firing and what not! But which one has suffered significantly? Employees' well-being, especially their mental health! As an HR manager of Rezolve.ai, I would like to highlight that discussing mental health at work is unquestionably essential and maintaining an employee-focused culture. Without any doubt, I will say that an organization’s first commitment to its employees is providing the right mental health support.

Obviously, all of us have gone through times when life overwhelms us with work-related pressures like tight deadlines, performance pressures, heavy workloads, long hours, travel, poor work culture, lack of support, poor training and micromanagement. Other factors, too have affected our mental peace like bad surroundings, personal issues, or health issues. When it comes to my life, work plays a crucial role. I spend most of my time at my workplace and frequently interact with new people. I believe that a satisfying profession can enhance one's overall well-being and mental health of every individual. However, nothing ever stays the same. That's a universal truth. Things may shift as your circumstances change and as you walk through various phases of life. And when such things happen, tension sets in, making it difficult for us to keep track of both our personal and professional lives.

A survey conducted by FlexJobs and Mental Health America revealed that more than 75% of employees had encountered work-related burnout, a sustained state of stress that can harm mental health. I also found another alarming statistic from the World Health Organization that around 264 million people worldwide suffer from serious issues like depression and anxiety. Additionally, it costs the global economy USD 1 trillion in lost productivity yearly—a harsh reality. In my understanding, even before the pandemic, mental health in the workplace was already a significant concern. In most cases, mental health concerns were ignored, which only worsened employees' mental health because of the social stigma attached to discussing such issues. In recent years, companies have been forced to adopt remote and hybrid work cultures, which makes the threat to the workforce's well-being more apparent. Needless to say, every organization and manager must understand that mental health education, advocacy, training, and support are crucial for their employees as it allows them to perform better.  

In this blog post, I will tell you what makes mental health so important to build a productive workforce and some critical strategies organizations should implement to help their employees deal with any potential mental health issues.  

Importance of Employee Mental Health and Well-being

An employee's mental health is determined by his ability to cope with daily challenges, work efficiently, realize his full potential, and contribute to the community and organization he works for. In addition to physical and social well-being, mental health is essential to overall health. The concept of mental wellness goes beyond the absence of mental illness. One can have good mental health and suffer from mental illness. It is also possible to have bad mental health without having a disease.  

In my view, employee performance and mental health are related concepts rather than two distinct goals. Both work hand-in-hand to make one successful.  

Negative Effects of Poor Mental Health at Your Organization

It can be challenging to comprehend the effects of mental health and well-being at work, but they have not become more prevalent over the past few decades. Workplace well-being is more challenging to manage and control than in the past because many organizations use working patterns that produce a more distributed workforce. This means that the workplace must be a model setting where employees feel welcomed and supported. When mental health is not taken seriously in the workplace, businesses risk losing top talent and employee burnout.

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Let's look at how having poor mental health affects an organization.  

  • Hinder employee productivity and business ROI

    Keeping a business at peak productivity is one of the main concerns of employers. However, issues with mental health can swiftly put a company's operations in danger. This is because it has a harsh impact on the employees. Keeping an organization running relies primarily on its employees; therefore, if they are affected, your organization will also suffer.

  • Increase in employee absenteeism

    Employee absenteeism is also common due to mental health difficulties in competitive working environments. There seems to be a higher probability that employees with mental health issues will miss work. When an employee goes missing, it causes problems for everyone who has to complete the work they've left behind.

  • High employee turnover rates

    A toxic corporate culture is one of the leading causes of poor mental health. It is because your company's work culture determines how you treat your staff and what perks they receive while working for you. When employees are not comfortable with may look for better opportunities.

  • Poor engagement to one's task

    Insufficient mental health causes focus loss and demotivation. When we experience challenges with our mental health at work, our minds can wander or become fixated on our troubles, making it challenging to control our thoughts and emotions.

  • Physical well-being is slowly damaged by mental health disorders

    The fact that their physical health declines in those with mental health issues is another significant issue. This is often brought on by their stress and the bad habits they develop to cope with it.

  • Poor communication

    When employees don't feel emotionally healthy, communicating effectively is challenging. Adverse mental health can cause colleagues to be misunderstood or overreacted to. It could be perceived as a bad attitude, poor listening skills, or passive-aggressive speech.

Looking at the adverse effects of poor mental health in the workplace, organizations must realize the importance of addressing mental health concerns to maintain an enthusiastic and effective workforce. It is crucial to understand how employees respond to changes in circumstances and what psychological benefits they believe their employers should provide them. In order to make the workplace safer for employees, employers should better understand the depth of impact these challenges can have on mental health. But how can businesses do that?

In my opinion, businesses must build an employee-friendly culture that motivates their staff to be more active and stay healthy in the workplace and at home. A positive company work culture should encourage positive conduct and put its employees in the first place. Undoubtedly, employees come first and are the cornerstone of an explicitly stated employee-first culture. Employees in an organization with an employee-first culture feel at ease discussing their concerns, believe in the company's core values, feel their voice is heard, see growth opportunities, feel respected when expressing their opinions, have a fair balance between work and life, and receive fair treatment.  

Benefits of Adapting to an Employee-first Culture

Employee-first cultures offer several benefits outside just keeping your staff satisfied. Due to this model's numerous material and intangible advantages, Fortune 500 organizations and startup businesses are adopting it today. In a recent survey by International Workplace Group, more than 65% of employees feel that organization that adjusts the work environment to the way employees work is more productive than those that do not, and 85% of employees confirmed that productivity had increased in their company due to increased flexibility in employee working patterns. I recently came across a McKinsey report among HR executives stating that an employee-first culture is long overdue because organizations are now looking for a "back to human" approach. Additionally, 90% of HR managers think they may recover a human touch by avoiding self-service options and interacting directly with employees. In other words, it's crucial to prioritize your team.  

Employers who put their people first will benefit from several broad benefits, including:  

  1. Recruits the best talent available

    Employee-first culture approaches improve an organization's appeal to young employees in a highly competitive labor market. Inquiries concerning organizational culture are expected during the hiring process. Companies with a reputation for putting their employees first attract top talent.

  2. Encourages employee engagement

    Business ROI rises as engagement rises. Employee engagement refers to how people feel about their jobs and the workplace environment. Employee engagement rises when businesses actively listen to and take action on employee feedback. Employers who engage their staff are more likely to keep people content, motivated, and dedicated to their jobs, which boosts corporate ROI.

  3. Improves employee morale and fosters innovation

    Employee morale may go up or down depending on its working culture. Employees experience higher stress and problems when a company's culture is unclear or inadequate, which negatively impacts results. People are more likely to have strong morale when satisfied with their work. A positive corporate culture can help workers feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. Employee morale may be higher when employees are acknowledged, and organizational traditions are formed.

  4. Greater Retention of Employees

    An employee-first culture helps your staff members feel appreciated by the company they work for. This encourages people to stay connected to the business for a more extended amount of time.  

Tips to Create an Employee-centric Work Culture That Promote Mental Health

Now here comes the million-dollar question- how to create an employee-centric work culture? Here I have added some key strategies for developing a company culture that is focused on people.

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Let's check the crucial tips one by one. 

  1. Ensure regular feedback

    Undeniably, lack of communication and feedback is one of the main problems in this present remote working and hybrid working situation. Managers must regularly contact their teammates. Regularly schedule one-on-one meetings to discuss progress, communicate an open-door policy so any issues can be resolved quickly, and make sure that good work is recognized. Continuous feedback enables your company to identify interpersonal conflicts and address them before they become toxic work environments.

  2. Promote flexible work

    Ever since the Covid-19 outbreak, work-life balance has become increasingly important to employees. A company that puts its people first should be receptive to their requirements.

  3. Talk about mental health at work

    Speaking openly about mental health at work might be uncomfortable for some employees. If you are a manager, you must know how their teams feel. In a confidential survey I conducted, I understood that only 50% of employees are satisfied with their team leads, and relationships between team leads and employees are harmed by poor communication, a lack of understanding, and little employee contact.

    As a manager, you can improve this by facilitating meaningful dialogues with your staff and talking about their mental peace. When you provide a supportive workplace environment, employees feel free to bring their complete selves to work and feel empowered to discuss performance-related issues with their managers.

  4. Invest in mental health training and programs

    There is a greater need than ever for team leaders and teammates to receive mental health training. As more employees experience mental health issues, it is imperative to clarify misinformation, reduce the social stigma associated with employee mental health, and encourage fruitful discussions about mental health. Mental health employee resource groups are inexpensive to spread awareness, foster a sense of community, and offer peer support when you don't have the money to invest in training.  

Conclusion: Workplace Mental Health Needs To Be Rethought In 2023

As an HR manager, I believe that the first step in promoting good mental health in the workplace is raising awareness of the full spectrum of employee mental health experiences. When organizations support and promote the mental health of those struggling employees, they will feel that their employer values them and will likely stay with the organization in the long run. As a result, employees are more likely to perform better and bring huge success to the organization.  

Mental health can be de-stigmatized by companies taking a broader look at their role in society and de-stigmatizing the issue. We may redefine mental health by focusing on methods that promote employees' personal and professional development and provide aid and access to clinical care for those who most need it. With knowledge, creativity, and support, your organization can provide employees with the best mental health services.

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