“An estimated 1 in 6 people experienced a ‘common mental disorder’ like depression or anxiety in the past week.” If you’re a business executive like me, you may be doing some quick math right now; how many people I work with are struggling on a weekly basis? As demands for work performances rise and the balance between work and home life diminish due to the rise of technology, workers are experiencing mental health issues at alarmingly increased rates.
Experts for a few years now have debated how companies and individuals alike can face the mounting crisis that is mental health in the workplace. If you’re worried about the health of your employees and how you can foster an environment of care, check out these expert recommendations.
Mental Health-Focused Redesign
Are there certain stores you like based on their particular design elements or colors that make you feel happy or calm? If so, you understand the effect our surroundings can have on our mental wellbeing. Research and multiple studies have confirmed that physical design can greatly affect mental health and happiness.
Workplaces that utilize natural daylight or feature access to outdoor areas can boost brain function and productivity, but they also decrease the likelihood of headaches, eye strain, and tiredness. Additionally, implementing strategic colors into the office can have a tremendously positive effect on the brain.
As previously mentioned, the gap between home life and work life has grown exponentially smaller with the rise of technology. We can’t battle a tidal wave, though. Technology is here to stay. Instead, we should rethink the work/life balance model and adapt it to our modern needs. Many experts are seeking to change the phrase to work-life integration, a model where the two aspects of our lives do not compete with one another, yet we bring the same level of enthusiasm to each.
To implement work-life integration, employers can offer flexible hours or the ability to work remotely when necessary. Such flexibility can decrease mental health issues such as stress and anxiety. More importantly though, it can allow employees to feel an increased sense of accomplishment as they now have the ability to achieve both their professional and personal needs.
The most important aspect of creating a mental health-focused workplace relies on management and company leaders to foster positive communication on the subject. Studies have indicated that while employees will speak to a manager about mental health struggles, they will not seek formal solutions. Fearing negative consequences or a lack of support have been shown to be high motivators for not seeking help.
Management and leaders should not only communicate their mental health priorities, but act as role models and lead by example. Companies have varying approaches to fostering mental health, ranging from training employees in mental health first aid, building mental health into their company’s mission, and offering info and advice sessions. Regardless, working mental health into your company’s priorities can go a long way to treating employees’ struggles with mental health.
Our employees are our greatest asset. The Nutrition Group PLC has recently undergone mental health training and I was reminded of how important it is to take care of the people who work here. Businesses, and society in general, have a lot to learn when it comes to treating mental health. With proper communication that breaks down the stigma, we are one step closer to slowing down the riptide of mental health.