Workplace mental health: Causes, negative effect on employees, solutions
Here are work-related factors that affect mental health of employees, negative effects of poor mental health at workplace and way forward in promoting good mental health in offices
A bad mood, being involved in a series of arguments with family at home, becoming increasingly more reactive to situations that probably didn’t need any reaction, constantly suffering from body aches and excessive headaches are obvious signs of significant stress that could result from workplace mental extremes. Many are going through workplace mental health issues but are ignorant about it and according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 15 percent of working-age Indian adults live with a mental disorder.
In a recent Deloitte survey, 47 per cent of professionals are going through workplace-related stress which is the biggest factor affecting their mental health. These worrisome data stresses the need for putting a special impetus on workplace mental health.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Jyoti Kapoor, Founder and Senior Psychiatrist at Manasthali, revealed the work-related factors that affect mental health of employees as:
• Poor management and communication practices
Kind and engaging communication is the key to a healthy workplace. It also enhances the management-employee relationship. On the other hand, when communication is poor, it unnecessarily causes stress and creates issues like workplace-related stress and mental health challenges.
• No support for employees from managers
Employees feel overwhelmed and unmotivated when the managers don’t assist them in resolving work-related challenges. Managers, for example, should set an example on how to complete tasks that are unclear to employees rather than expecting them to figure them out on their own.
• Performance stress
The unprecedented Job loss during the coronavirus pandemic has put extra pressure on the minds of the employees. It has been seen that employees are under unreasonable pressure to perform at peak levels all of the time. It causes an increase in workload and work hours, as well as additional stress and emotional exhaustion.
Talking about the negative effects of poor mental health in the workplace, Dr Jyoti Kapoor said, “We all undergo mental health issues. When things are going well, we have a sense of purpose and believe we can handle whatever challenges come at us. But, just like our physical health, our mental health experiences ups and downs. Therefore, creating awareness of potential mental health issues in the workplace is essential for fostering an inclusive workplace.”
Highlighting how physical capability and daily functioning are impaired, she said, “Poor mental health has a significant impact on your daily life and physical capability. It paves way for social anxiety and reduction in cognitive performance and working memory.” Another effect is poor decision-making where according to the health expert, “Impulse control, unhealthy thoughts, and poor decision-making are some of the effects of poor mental health. When the decision making power is poor, it also leads to missed meetings, showing up late, dropping commitments or not adhering to company policies.”
Insisting that it leads to no interest with one's work, Dr Jyoti Kapoor said, “Demotivation and lack of focus are caused by poor mental health. When there are mental health issues in the workplace, our thoughts wander or become preoccupied with our problems. All these make it difficult to regulate our thoughts and emotions.”
The way forward she suggested is, “The first step in promoting good mental health in the workplace is to raise awareness of the workplace-related mental health issues and how it can hamper the productivity of an employee. When companies support and promote mental health for those who are suffering or who are simply not thriving, all employees benefit.”
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