It is important to ensure that your mental health is in a good place while working from home. How can this be achieved? What measures can businesses take to promote mental health awareness in the workplace? To gain insight into these questions, please continue reading.
For over seventy years, May has been recognised in the United States as Mental Health Awareness Month. This has been an integral part of the effort to eliminate the social stigma that is often associated with mental illness. Unfortunately, mental health issues are all too common in the United States, making it all the more crucial for companies to take proactive steps to ensure their employees can access the support and resources they need. In March of 2022, the American Psychological Association conducted a study examining the mental health of Americans, which revealed that many are operating in a state of “survival mode” due to the compounded pressures of inflation, the ongoing pandemic, and the conflict in Ukraine. This highlights the need for organisations to proactively address mental health issues in the workplace.
According to a recent McKinsey report, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a highly destructive effect on the mental wellbeing of almost all employees, with anxiety and depression being the primary contributors to decreasing productivity, resulting in a staggering annual cost to the global economy of one trillion dollars.
Despite these statistics, many people are hesitant to disclose mental health at work for fear of being criticised.
Without proper treatment and support, mental health issues can have a drastic effect on an individual’s growth, happiness, and overall wellbeing. In order to reduce the negative impact these conditions can have, it is imperative that organisations prioritise mental health awareness in the workplace. Doing so can help ensure that employees feel comfortable and supported, while also protecting the safety and prosperity of the business.
Companies must also take the time to comprehend the needs of their employees and provide necessary support wherever possible. It is especially important for executives and managers to demonstrate empathy and let employees know that it is acceptable to reach out for help.
Is working from home beneficial to one’s mental health? What are the advantages of working remotely?
A survey of those polled revealed that 70% of respondents felt that working from home had a positive impact on their mental health. Moreover, more than half of employees indicated that they would be more likely to choose an employer that offered the option of remote work, and an even greater proportion (74%) stated that it would make them less likely to leave a company.
Some of the advantages of working from home include:
- Remote employment has the potential to create a more equitable and diverse working environment, as it can welcome individuals from all walks of life, regardless of religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. Moreover, remote work can create a sense of safety and comfort for employees, as eighty percent of remote workers have stated that they would be willing to switch jobs if it meant having better mental health support. These findings suggest that remote employment could be a key factor in improving job satisfaction, diversity, and fairness in the workplace.
- Many working mothers had to abandon their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic due to the immense pressure of managing both their professional and domestic obligations, as well as the limited availability of childcare services. Remote working opportunities have, however, provided these women with more time to spend with their families. According to recent studies, 32 percent of women are much less likely to leave their current employment if they were able to benefit from remote working possibilities.
- Working remotely eliminates the need for commuting, which can have a positive effect on staff productivity, as well as reducing stress levels. Lower stress levels have been linked to improved health and productivity, with research showing a decrease of up to 39% in levels of stress as a result of remote employment.
- Working from home offers employees the opportunity to personalise their work environment, free from disruptions and distractions. This provides a more sustainable working pattern, enabling them to remain productive for longer periods of time.
What steps can you take to promote employee mental health in the workplace?
A recent study conducted by the Mental Health Foundation found that workplaces with a positive mental health climate are more productive overall. Consequently, businesses should strive to create a supportive and welcoming environment to foster the mental well-being of their employees. Doing so could lead to improved morale and productivity, yielding greater success and profitability for the business.
Here are five suggestions for enhancing mental health in the workplace.
Policy on vacations
The provision of generous vacation plans has been linked to a decrease in job stress and burnout, leading to notable improvements in several key areas for companies who choose to offer such plans. These benefits include, but are not limited to, increased employee satisfaction, improved work-life balance, heightened productivity, and enhanced job performance.
- Personal connections
- Job fulfillment
- Levels of energy
- Overall inventiveness
Vacation allowances are beneficial.
- Employees recharge their batteries.
- Handle mental health concerns more effectively
- Increase your attention and concentration.
Some of the best firms give paid time off (PTO) and vacation allowances to encourage workers to establish a good work-life balance.
Beginning in 2023, Goldman Sachs will institute a new policy that obligates its employees to take three weeks of paid vacation each year. Netflix’s “No Vacation Policy” allows its employees to decide when to work and when to take a break. Sony Electronics provides its employees with paid vacation and holidays, enabling them to restore themselves and keep a healthy work-life balance.
Evernote, according to Glassdoor, provides unlimited PTO. Every year, workers are given a $1,000 vacation allowance to go to a different location.
Work hours that are flexible
Employees’ mental health benefits greatly from flexible working hours. Some prominent advantages of flexible work hours include:
- Physical and mental health improvements
- increased attention and focus at work
- increased work satisfaction and motivation
The rising trend of “Flexidus” – the term used to describe women departing from their employment due to an inflexible work environment – has been gaining traction since the Great Resignation of recent years. A recent survey conducted by LinkedIn has revealed that more than half of women (52%) have either left their job or are considering quitting due to a lack of flexibility in their workplace. It is apparent that employees place a greater value on the availability of flexible working hours than job advancement opportunities.
According to the results of Bankrate’s February 2022 Job Seeker Poll, a majority of employees (55%) stated that working from home or having a more flexible schedule is more essential to them today than it was prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is compared to the 52% of employees who indicated that more compensation was more important to them.
Salesforce, a leader in cloud computing, is revolutionising the way people work by introducing Flex Schedule. This innovative working timetable empowers employees to choose when, where, and how they work, enabling them to work from home one to three days per week while still engaging in team collaboration, client meetings, and presentations.
Companies such as Basecamp, Bolt, Buffer, and DNS Philtre provide job flexibility with four-day workweeks and the ability to work remotely.
Breaks for mental wellbeing
Organisations that prioritise creating an environment that encourages employees to take breaks and time off have the advantage over their competition. Providing the brain with sufficient time to rest and recharge can significantly improve decision-making, communication, and other essential business skills. Here are a few of our recommendations to help employees revive their energy levels:
- Simple pauses for yoga classes, meditation, or even a day off.
- Breaks for hobbies such as reading, sketching, painting, exercising, watching a favourite program, or cooking.
Eyegaze Inc. offered complimentary mobile applications to their workers to promote their mental health and wellbeing. These applications were designed to help improve emotional resilience and sleep quality.
Ernst & Young (EY) launched regular drop-in workshops to support their employees during the pandemic. These workshops included short mindfulness exercises with strategies to manage anxiety, social isolation, and feeling overwhelmed. The organisation also offered a complimentary twelve-week mindfulness course and daily planned practice sessions. To further help their employees during this time, EY provided backup adult and childcare assistance, as well as virtual yoga, gym courses, and opportunities to volunteer.
Unplugging after work is an effective way to promote mental health and well-being. Taking a break from work-related activities can help to restore work-life balance, improve sleep quality, and reduce fatigue and stress. To help ensure a successful unplugging experience, consider the following simple steps:
- Not regularly opening emails
- Notifying coworkers and clients of your absence
- Prioritising work calls, both planned and impromptu
- Work-related group communications are being muted.
Many years ago, Volkswagen initiated a policy of limiting work-related emails during out of office hours. To adhere to this policy, the company’s internal systems were set up to prevent emails from being routed to individual accounts between 6:15 p.m. and 7 a.m. As a result, employees were not expected to complete any work-related tasks during this time. This precautionary measure allowed employees to have a healthy work-life balance and enjoy their evenings away from the office.
Many businesses are actively promoting workers to take a break from their work by implementing various strategies, such as disabling communication and collaboration tools outside of working hours. Such measures are intended to encourage workers to take some time away from their work responsibilities and focus on their personal wellbeing.
Workplace stress is a pervasive problem in the United States, with 83 percent of employees reporting that it is a contributing factor to their poor performance. In addition, 25 percent of employees cite work as the most significant stressor in their life. Factors such as long working hours, high workloads, job uncertainty, inadequate performance, and disagreements with co-workers all have an adverse impact on organisational productivity. It is clear that addressing workplace stress is essential for businesses to achieve their goals and remain competitive in the current economy.
At Symetria Recovery, we recognise the importance of mental health in the workplace and provide specialised counselling services to our employees. Our office psychologist is available each week to conduct mental health assessments and identify any issues that may be contributing to a decrease in decision-making or an increase in stress and anxiety. For employees who do not pass the assessment, we suggest taking the day off to allow for rest and relaxation. We believe that by providing these services, we can empower our employees to lead healthier, more productive lives.
Finally, how can you encourage mental health in the workplace?
Promoting mental health awareness within the workplace is an essential strategy for organisations of all sizes. By implementing effective approaches for managing employee mental health concerns, businesses can create a positive work environment and ensure the well-being of their staff. Depending on the nature and size of the business, the specific initiatives taken to promote mental health may vary. However, regardless of size, it is necessary to have suitable procedures in place to support the mental well-being of employees.
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What exactly is workplace mental health awareness?Mental health awareness focuses on creating an inclusive workplace where workers may freely disclose their mental health difficulties.
How can we enhance workplace mental health?Here are a few suggestions for improving workplace mental health:
- Offering vacation benefits
- Work hours that are flexible
- Healthy work-life balance
- Defining borders
What is the significance of Mental Health Awareness Month?Mental Health Awareness Month is crucial for increasing awareness about mental health concerns and encouraging solutions.