7 Reasons Companies Should Promote Mental Health in the Workplace
Due to COVID-19 pandemic, mental health has worsened in all age groups, with a greater impact on the active population that faces daily the danger of contagions, especially when working outside. And, when in remote work, the majority of these people are overwhelmed by drastic changes that were required to maintain their jobs.
It will take all of us to help alleviate the impact of COVID-19 related stress, anxiety, and depression can have on ourselves, loved ones, colleagues, and communities.
1st reason: if you, as an employer, care about your staff.
It is increasingly being recognized that the mental health of employees is a crucial determinant in their overall health and that poor mental health and stressors at the workplace can be a contributory factor to a range of physical illnesses like hypertension, diabetes, and cardiovascular conditions, amongst others. In addition, poor mental health can also lead to burn-out amongst employees, seriously affecting their ability to contribute meaningfully in both their personal and professional lives. (1)
2nd reason: it is necessary to avoid absenteeism and the negative impact it has on
productivity and profits.
Data from different countries around the world indicate that mental health problems are a cause of a number of employees dropping out of work. Mental health problems have an impact on employers and businesses directly through increased absenteeism, negative impact on productivity and profits, as well as an increase in costs to deal with the issue. In addition, they impact employee morale adversely. (2)
3rd reason: human errors.
Work-related stress is a major cause of occupational ill health, poor productivity, and human error. This means increased sickness absence, high staff turnover, and poor performance in the organization, and a possible increase in accidents due to human error. (4)
4th reason: poor decison making.
Work-related stress could also manifest as heart disease, back pain, headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances or various minor illnesses; as well as psychological effects such as anxiety and depression, loss of concentration, and, above all, poor decision making. (3)
5th reason: workers' families.
Families are today struggling to cope with an increasingly complex world. Individuals are struggling to find the right balance between work and family responsibility. Domestic issues can affect work where balancing work and home by allotting adequate time for both can help reduce stress. (4)
6th reason: high demand for performance.
Unrealistic expectations, especially in the time of corporate reorganizations, which, sometimes, puts unhealthy and unreasonable pressures on the employee, can be a tremendous source of stress and suffering. Increased workload, extremely long work hours, and intense pressure to perform at peak levels all the time for the same pay can actually leave an employee physically and emotionally drained. Excessive travel and too much time away from family also contribute to an employee's stressors. (4)
7th reason: job insecurity.
Organized workplaces are going through metamorphic changes under intense economic transformations and consequent pressures. Reorganizations, takeovers, mergers, rightsizing and other changes have become major stressors for employees, as companies try to live up to the competition to survive. These reformations have put a demand on everyone, from a CEO to a line manager. (4)
The development and implementation of a workplace mental health policy and the program will benefit the health of employees, increase the productivity of the company, and will contribute to the well-being of the community at large. It has been found that psychosocial intervention courses along with stress management training and health promotion interventions have a positive impact on mental well-being. (5)
(1) World Health Organization. 2005. Mental health policies and programs in the workplace. (2) European Network for Workplace Health Promotion. Newsletter 09/2010/. www.enwhp.org/fileadmin/downloads/8th_Initiative/MentalHealth_Broschuere_businesscase.pdf.(3) A step-by-step approach using the Management Standards. Health and Safety Executive, UK; 2007. Managing the causes of work-related stress. (4) T. Rajgopal, Mental well-being at the workplace. Indian J Occup Environ Med. 2010 Sep-Dec; 14(3): 63-65.(5) Gaveling RA. Institute of Occupational Medicine. Edinburgh; 2008. A review of workplace interventions that promote mental wellbeing in the workplace. Draft report.