How To Create An Office That Supports Mental Health

Today over 300 million people around the world suffer from a mental illness. Though there are many different causes and triggers of mental illnesses, one of the highest-ranking problems revert to stress brought on by the workplace.

Companies heavily rely on their employees to be the front line of their business, dealing with the customers firsthand. If the employee is struggling with an untreated mental illness, it could really affect the business. 

It is important that every employer takes these matters seriously, not only for their business’s sake but also for their employees too. 

Having resources and help that employees can reach out to is a great start. However, if many employees are suffering it may be time to check out the culture your company is promoting.

Creating an office that supports mental health is not just beneficial for the employee, it is necessary.

What About Their Job Takes Toll on Their Mental Health?

Unlike many illnesses, mental health is not one that you can slap a band-aid on with some ointment and it will heal itself. Nor can you prescribe an antibiotic for 5-10 days and it will go away. 

However, like every other illness, figuring out the root of the problem is the first step. Once you figure out what the problem or problems may be, then you can work on a solution to progressively get better.

So, first things first, in order to fix the problem, we must first identify it. Some questions to ask yourself could be…

  1. How does this job affect them negatively?
  2. Are we providing proper support for any problems?
  3. Is the expectation we place upon employees achievable?

To create an atmosphere that adequately promotes good mental health, certain regulations should be applied. Often employee’s mental health starts to decline because they are being overworked. 

If your employee is great at their job, rewarding them by giving them another job on top of theirs is not a reward. Employees who take on more than they can handle are 50% more likely to see the quality of their work diminish overtime. 

Remembering that your employees have a life and family to maintain outside of work is vital.  Having schedules that are inflexible creates added stress to work/life balance that is already hard to manage. 

Problems Created By Depression And Anxiety

The most common forms of mental illness are anxiety and depression. So, if work is adding stress, it may be pushing employees into experiencing depression and anxiety.

However, it is not just at work that they are experiencing these overwhelming feelings. Your mental health goes wherever you go, it does not punch in and out every day.

Other common problems that stem from depression and anxiety triggered by the workspace are things like poor sleep, change in appetite, constant fatigue, and unable to concentrate.

All of these directly affect the outcome of the work the employee is completing. The human body runs like a well-oiled machine when it is properly taken care of. However, when something as serious as sleep, or proper eating habits is thrown out of whack, it can influence all the other parts as well. 

Now that the root of the problem has been identified, now it is time to start making changes.

How to Promote Positive Mental Health At Work?

It is crucial that employees know that they are appreciated and that their mental health is important to employers. Having an environment that each worker feels comfortable and providing resources for them to reach out to is a great start.

Knowing the triggers and signs of someone struggling is helpful to be able to fix the problem before it is out of control. 

Encourage employees to create a to-do list to avoid feeling overwhelmed and remind them to take breaks frequently. This will allow them to clear their head and step away from a hard task they are working on. Coming back with a clear, fresh mind will help them out in the long run.

A huge factor in workspace stress is the gossip that constantly goes around. Rumors that start including other co-workers true or not, is not only inappropriate but also hurtful. Some employees may already feel like they are going to get let go or are not liked, adding in gossip does not help.

To ensure that employees are not spreading rumors and causing extra problems throughout the workplace, some rules must be set up to enforce this policy. Reprimanding any employees with a write-up or warning will send a clear message that the office does not tolerate this kind of behavior from its workers.  

Overall, the employee who is suffering from declining mental health may never feel comfortable enough to speak openly about it. Access to a therapist of some sort that they can reach out to on their own would be a nice addition to supply for each employee.

Employers can only do so much to eliminate stress within the office, but sometimes it is still not enough. Offering employees who are full time a certain number of paid time off days ensures that they can relax and take the time that they need, without having to worry about missing out on money. 

Mental health is often overlooked because it is not something that we can physically see. By creating an office that provides good habits such as keeping the gossip out and the support in, will change some of your employees’ lives. 

The workers are the backbone of the business and without them, business owners would really struggle. So, let’s make sure that they are taken care of not only physically, but also emotionally and mentally. Having an office that promotes good mental health will make coming to work every day a lot easier for the employees and employers.