Did you know that a survey in 2022 states that 81% of workers complain about workplace stress affecting their mental health? Surprisingly, this figure has grown from a basal stat of 78% in the year 2021. Additionally, 73% of the workers report that the stress in the workforce affects their personal life and their ties with families and friends. The analysis of these statistics clearly states that workplaces still denote a place of mental stress for employees in the current era. However, many organizations strive to implement an inclusive workforce and associated programs for prioritizing mental health at work.
This blog will guide you on prioritizing your mental health at work, even if your employer is not setting the stage. Let’s get started.
The Current State of Mental Health Conditions in the Workplace
If we talk about the current employee’s mental state, it is more inclined toward negative.
In the current era, the employees are working for longer hours than usual. Therefore, the effects are getting more damaging in the form of high absenteeism levels, reduced productivity, abandoned vacation times, and so on. It calls for organizations to find ways to prioritize mental health.
Additionally, further statistics state that 1 in 6 employees face mental health issues at the workplace. Moreover, organizations lose 12 billion working days to anxiety and depression every year. Overall, mental health issues impact employees’ productivity, as happy employees show a productivity rate of 13%.
Furthermore, 62% of employees say that their workplace is affecting their mental health, compared to a ratio of 19% who deny it. Moreover, 34% experience microaggression at work compared to 7%.
A deep look at statistics states that there is an upsurging need for organizations to prioritize mental health in the workplace.
Challenges at Workspace and Coping With Them While Prioritizing Mental Health
Understanding the challenges at the workspace before knowing how to prioritize your mental health is essential. The challenges are numerous, referring to healthcare settings in particular and including general workspace challenges, and addressing them requires quite a trick. So, we are here with some of the workspace mental health challenges that need prioritizing:
Emotional exhaustion: Healthcare professionals face constant exposure to patients’ sufferings, traumatic events, and high-pressure situations. These can lead to emotional fatigue and burnout among healthcare workers.
Work-related stress: Whether or not you are a healthcare professional, work-related stress is a constant factor. Heavy workloads, long hours, and the need to maintain precision in critical situations contribute significantly to stress levels. This stress can impact mental well-being over time.
Compassion fatigue: Continuously empathizing with patients’ pain and struggles can result in compassion fatigue, a condition in which healthcare practitioners become emotionally exhausted and lose their ability to connect empathetically.
Trauma and PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder): Healthcare professionals may develop trauma or post-traumatic symptoms due to prolonged exposure to overwhelming situations.
Work-life imbalance: Whether you are a healthcare professional or not, prioritizing mental health requires a work-life balance. Unfortunately for most employees, balancing work with professional life is a havoc. Healthcare professionals have to work long hours occasionally, and the industry also faces increased burnout rates. It impacts the existing workforce to work for extended hours, thus raising mental health issues.
Strategies for Prioritizing Mental Health at Work
Although mental stress is a pain point for employees, you can find answers on how to prioritize your mental health through certain effective strategies below:
Setting Boundaries and Limits
The extent of mental stress is so great that around 44% of employees in a survey reported feeling burned out. Moreover, around a quarter of them said they often or always felt burnt out—these statistics are from the 2018 Gallup Study. Hence, the study’s findings redirect us to one of the best strategies for prioritizing mental health: setting limits and boundaries.
Setting limits can be as simple as not connecting your phone to your work email or refraining from checking work emails during particular evening hours to focus on family or personal time. Understanding when and how to delegate responsibilities is also essential when creating boundaries.
Learning to Negate
It shouldn’t always be a ‘YES.’ Learning to say ‘NO’ is fundamental when prioritizing mental health. It helps set workplace boundaries. Moreover, it enables you to prioritize your essential work tasks better.
Additionally, research from the University of California, San Francisco, in 2013 depicted that those employees suffer more from stress, depression, and burnout and hesitate to say NO.
Over time, this habit of saying a ‘NO’ proves beneficial for prioritizing mental health and tasks.
Being polite and concise but firm, being honest, giving an alternative, and recognizing that saying no does not make you a lazy or terrible employee are some ideas for expressing no properly.
Create a supportive work atmosphere in which colleagues can openly discuss mental health issues without fear of being stigmatized. Encourage team-building events and the formation of support groups to promote a sense of community.
Take Your Days Off
If you feel the pressure building up, consider taking the allotted days off to prioritize mental health. Take a break, consider going on vacation, or try our relaxation techniques to rejuvenate your energy. However, try to work remotely on the days when you feel down. These strategies help to recharge and prevent burning out.
Some Strategies for Employers for Prioritizing the Mental Health of Employees
If you are an employer seeking effective ways to prioritize the mental health of employees, here’s a guide:
Fostering Openness and Support
Creating a workplace environment that encourages open communication and support is essential for prioritizing mental health. Employers should promote a culture where employees can feel free to share their feelings and release stress. However, employers should discuss mental health issues openly with the employees and that they care for them. Employers should provide resources, implement policies, etc., to help foster an environment of inclusivity and support.
Talking about inclusivity, do you want to know some practical diversity recruiting tips? Here are some tips gathered for you.
Create Task Forces or Internal Groups
A specialized employee mental health group is invaluable for information, education, and support. These groups allow team members to discuss mental health challenges and share their experiences in a safe, supportive environment. These groups can be arranged in a tiered manner to enhance broad workforce engagement. Moreover, they allow limits in not pushing anyone too far outside their comfort zone.
Flexible Work Options
Flexibility increases productivity. Working in an office full-time could be better for some employees. Moreover, giving flexibility enables the employees to balance work and life. Additionally, in a Gartner 2021 Digital Worker Experience Survey, 43 percent of employees affirmed that work-life flexibility helped them achieve greater productivity.
Provoke Learning and Development
Creating learning opportunities always works in prioritizing mental health strategies. Fostering an atmosphere where employees can focus on learning and development nurtures the way of educating employees about mental well-being.
Therefore, employers should work on providing training sessions and courses to help employees get enlightened about different aspects of mental health. In turn, it allows employees to know more about themselves and communicate more effectively about their feelings. Thus making things convenient and adaptable for them.
Train The Leaders
Leaders are the foreplayers in implementing mental health in the workspace. Employers should make arrangements for training leaders and managers first. This step will likely promote the trend to employees working under them. Trained leaders are likelier to direct the correct resources and guidance to the employees. In turn, it helps provoke a more inclusive and compassionate work environment.
Pro tip: if you are an employer seeking employee retention tips, here are some for you.
Benefits of a Mentally Healthy Work Culture
There are several benefits of prioritizing employees’ mental health and making an inclusive work environment. Employee well-being, job satisfaction, and engagement ultimately increase if the workspace promotes mental health. It leads to productivity, reduced healthcare costs, innovation, and more. Additionally, employees demonstrate more loyalty towards their organization.
To conclude, prioritizing mental health is a must in the workspace. With the mind not working well, productivity loses its shine. Therefore, if organizations require maximum output from employees, they should focus on finding ways to prioritize mental health. This blog guides the basics of the effective strategies the employees should adopt to manage their mental well-being in a stressed work culture. Moreover, it navigates through the processes employers should adopt in nurturing the mental well-being of their employees.
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