Throughout the last decade, there has been an increase in the number of individuals who have reported having concerns with their mental health, and it is common knowledge that in many situations, the primary hazards to people's health at work are psychological in nature. This is a good thing because in this way a lot of problems can be solved from an early stage without any further consequences. A recent study conducted by Acas discovered that 35% of British employers had not had a conversation with their employees regarding their mental health and well-being during the previous year, despite the ongoing pandemic caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Competition and Markets Authority, which is an independent department of the UK government, has been working on different ways to improve awareness of employee mental health. They found out that having a culture of understanding and openness gives employees the opportunity to recognise, discuss and resolve challenges related to their mental health and overall wellness.
Factors influencing work
An employee's mood can be affected by both their personal life and the atmosphere of their job. Even though it is sometimes difficult to modify external conditions, work environments may frequently contribute to the reduction of stress by minimising the risks associated with the job and ensuring that supporting policies and processes exist. There are several factors that can affect people’s mental health that need to be taken into consideration. The stress of one's job has been linked to both deteriorating health and a rise in the rate of on-the-job accidents and injuries. Overwork, a lack of clear instructions, tight expectations, a lack of autonomy, job instability, isolated working circumstances, and monitoring are some of the possible reasons for stress that may be brought on by one's place of employment. Also, poor communication at work, lack of support and no flexibility can affect any employee’s mental health, especially when they are in a difficult period of their life. One thing that also needs to be mentioned is that the conditions of the work environment are also very important. Safety and hazards, unpleasant working environment with long hours shifts will definitely affect people’s mental health sooner or later.
All these factors influence people's work and the way they are completing tasks, it also affects their concentration and decision-making process, increases the level of sadness, and pessimism and cause sleeping problems. It may also result in a decreased degree of dedication to their work as well as to the organizations that they work for, which can be shown in high rates of employee turnover as well as in unfavourable views held within the workplace. Some of the consequences of mental health at work can be an increase in sickness absence, health issues, replacement of work performance, accidents, and undesired errors. It can also reduce the intrinsic motivation to work and cause disciplinary issues with employees and clients.
Mental health issues do not only influence the person who is experiencing them. They have an effect on the whole of the community. Excluding people who struggle with mental health from participating actively in communal life comes at a great financial and emotional cost. Exclusion often results in lower levels of production as well as a waste of human potential. Poor mental health is predicted to cost businesses in the United Kingdom £26 billion annually, or £1,035 for each worker.
What can employers do
Employers and HR professionals have a great opportunity to shift mindsets and provide a support system for their employees, despite the fact that addressing mental health may be tough. Raise awareness, provide workers with access to educational possibilities and tools provided by national organisations, and encourage employees to build their programmes and projects. For instance, DuPont initiated a training policy to assist staff to reach out to co-workers who look to be experiencing emotional trauma and providing support and assistance. It is important to provide training to management and give them the opportunity to attend appropriate training in order to help staff members who are living with mental health disorders as well as the overall well-being of all employees. Moreover, it is necessary to take polls of employee satisfaction and mental health into consideration when crafting a new policy. Also, employers should provide opportunities for workers to maintain a good work-life balance.