Working is good for health, but working in a negative workplace environment can lead to mental health problems. According to WHO (World Health Organization), the US economy has suffered a total loss of $1 trillion in productivity in 2019 alone due to workers facing mental challenges such as depression and anxiety.
Commonly Reported Problems
The most commonly reported problems according to the WHO’s report were harassment from the management and bullying of co-workers which have had a significant impact on employees’ mental health. The above stats show how important it is for a business owner to make sure that their employees are doing fine. They should regularly monitor their employees to find out if there are any mental health risk factors that are restraining their employees from working to their full potential.
Below mentioned are some mental health risk factors to be considered:
- Insufficient and improper health policies
- Inadequate safety measurements
- Very limited or no communication with top-level management
- Workplace discrimination
- Limited or no control for employees over their work area
- Rigid working hours with no flexibility
- Unclear instructions, limited resources, and unrealistic deadlines
Apart from the above, mental health problems may also be caused due to the amount of risk a job demands. Some jobs such as first responders, firefighters, humanitarian workers, etc, involve high personal risk than others and can lead to mental disorders. In order to negate such risks, an employee may use harmful substances such as alcohol and drugs which can be devastating for both the employee and the employer.
Improve Mental Health By Creating A Healthy Workplace
A healthy workplace is one where employees and managers feel like coming and contributing to the company to their fullest. A business owner can create a healthy workplace environment by
- Protecting the mental health of the employees by reducing risk factors
- Encouraging employees having mental health issues by allocating them only the work they are competent of
- Giving importance to the mental health of an employee compared to its cause
- Letting the employees know of the various support systems and resources available for mental health problems
- Understanding the various needs of the employees at the workplace and implementing mental health policies accordingly
Speak to Your Employees, Support Those with Mental Problems
It is a business owner’s responsibility to help workers facing mental health issues to continue working or help them return to work. Research shows that long-term, as well as seasonal unemployment, can also lead to depression and suicides. Business owners and managers must try to speak to their employees having mental conditions confidentially and find out what’s causing them trouble. Ask them if they want flexible hours, change in the nature of their work, a re-design of their job, workplace protection, etc, and help them continue or return to their duties.
Many of the above-discussed factors are easy to implement and most of them don’t require much of an investment. According to WHO, for every US$1 spent on improving workplace mental health, the ROI (Return of investment) can be as much as US$4 in the form of health and overall productivity.