Mental Health in the Workplace: How to Treat Your Employees Better

woman feeling stressed at work

Burnout is now a legitimate medical condition. The World Health Organisation (WHO) listed it in the International Classification of Diseases in May 2019. WHO states that burnout is a result of unmanaged workplace stress, which can lead to other conditions like chronic fatigue and depression.

Cases of employees reporting burnout have become more prevalent in the last decade. There’s a culture of long work hours in London because plenty of companies downsized, increasing the workload of employees. Many workers are also in high-stress careers.

Burnout results in feelings of exhaustion and increased mental distance from one’s job, which significantly impacts their job performance.

Companies are responsible for making sure that their job design and workplace environment doesn’t cause undue stress on their employees. When you keep your staff satisfied and healthy, they continue to do their duties effectively, increasing workplace productivity.

Here’s how you can take better care of your employees’ mental health and prevent burnout.

  1. Evaluate your job design

In the latest study of Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development exploring health and well-being in U.K. workplaces, it’s revealed that workload is the number one cause of stress-related absence. Many employees struggle with increased workloads, with some even undertaking duties that aren’t in their job description.

Unmanageable workloads can be a sign of poor job design and organizational structure. A competent job design delegates workers according to their strengths, minimizing energy expenditure and maximizing your human resources. It should also include appropriate work and rest schedules.

Evaluate your job design to make sure you’re utilizing your workforce effectively. Jobs that have task significance and skill variety and allow autonomy and feedback are associated with higher levels of psychological well-being. Provide meaningful work with realistic timelines to manage work-related stress, which can lead to poor mental health.

man meditating at his desk

  1. Train your line managers

Management style is the second biggest cause of workplace stress. Because line managers directly work with their team, they have a significant influence on the employees’ mental health.

Excellent people management helps manage work-related stress, preventing related mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Train your line managers to develop their leadership skills further.

Managers can take counseling and well-being seminars to learn how to spot early warning signs of mental distress and have productive conversations with employees who may be struggling with mental health issues.

  1. Provide mental health support

Establish secure channels and avenues where employees can comfortably voice out their concerns. The human resources department can offer one-on-one counseling sessions where workers can talk about their worries without the fear of being judged. Make sure the staff knows how to access these employee assistance programs.

Destigmatise mental health problems in the workplace by promoting awareness. Hold seminars and workshops discussing the importance of staying psychologically healthy. This way, employees won’t be hesitant to approach their managers or HR personnel when they’re experiencing mental distress.

Finally, offer flexible work arrangements for those who are returning to the office after taking a mental health break. This can help them fall back into their routine and not be overwhelmed with their workload.

Organizations should have an effective well-being strategy that includes prevention, intervention, and protection initiatives. This shows that you value your employees and that you support them in leading healthy lives, both inside and outside of work. Taking care of your employees’ mental health can also reduce absenteeism, resulting in a more productive workplace.

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