It’s a pretty safe bet to say that we spend a lot of time at work. Many professionals spend 40 hours a week working (some much more than that). Regardless of the amount of time you spend on the clock, stress and mental strain can be expected on the job. If that stress goes unchecked for too long, it can create serious problems for employees and organizations alike.
Deteriorating mental health isn’t a closed off issue unique to one person at a time; it affects everyone. It influences the way we work in teams, our consistency, and even our professionalism as we attempt to process the world around us. Negative mental health issues can create disastrous results for employees and the companies they work with.
In 2016, a Work and Wellbeing survey by the American Psychological Association (APA) reported that less than half of the 1,501 workers surveyed felt their organization supported employee well-being and one in three reported chronic stress on the job.
Discussing matters involving what’s going on in your head is tough, it’s personal and it can be awkward. Many of your co-workers might not share the same worldviews, or deal with the same stressors you routinely encounter, so it’s no wonder why these issues are taboo in the workplace.
Some people are making strides to shed light on mental health issues on the job such as stress, depression, and feelings of isolation to help show that we all deal with them in one form or another. Madalyn Parker (a web developer from Olark Live Chat) sent shockwaves around every corner of the internet when her request for a day off for mental health went viral.
One of Madalyn’s teammates adds, “It is incredibly hard to be honest about mental health in the typical workplace. In situations like this, it is so easy to tell your teammates you are ‘not feeling well.’ Even in the safest environment, it is still uncommon to be direct about mental health issues.”
Progress aside, discussing mental health at work remains a precarious road to travel. Many employees don’t want to discuss their issues with their co-workers or their supervisors because they don’t want it used against them later. No one wants to risk damaging a relationship or compromise their standing with future employers because they are perceived a certain way due to the stigma associated with mental illness. So, people stay silent.
The thing is, even though these issues are hard to diagram at times, they have very real implications for businesses. Mental health conditions and the effects of them cost employers more than $100 billion and a staggering 217 million lost workdays every year according to findings by Harvard University Medical School.
The issues are real, whether employees are talking about them or not.
The brain is just like any other part of the body. When it deals with trauma, it, like any other muscle we have needs time to recover. Without the proper treatment, more problems will arise, sooner or later.
When it comes to stress in the workplace, it’s critically important that employees have the proper amount of time to decompress. Whether examining the duration of breaks or lunches, or running reports on an employee’s hourly work week, Actsoft provides timekeeping functionalities that make it possible to ensure your employees don’t spend more time working than they should. Everyone needs time away from the job to get their thoughts in order and to clear their heads. With Actsoft, you can be sure your workforce is taking the time needed to help reduce stress and keep people level headed.
Just to be clear, breaks and lunches aren’t the solutions to mental health issues. Not by a longshot. However, ensuring employees feel like it’s ok to step away from the job is a major step in the right direction. Professionals (regardless of title) need to know and understand that the job is important, but so is their mental well-being. It’s beneficial to take some time to compose yourself, and it should be encouraged to foster a healthy, productive, and efficient workforce.
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