Around 1 in 5 adults in the US suffer from a certain mental health illness every year, and 1 out of 25 suffers from a serious mental illnesses. Psychological problems are much more common than most of us might imagine them to be, and the effect that they have on one’s life could be devastating.
After sleeping, work is what occupies us through most part of our adult lives. Even people suffering from psychological disorders, spend most of their time working. But, it isn’t the same for them. The work environment, if stressful, could put extraordinary psychological burden on them. It could leave a permanent scar on their lives. Therefore, to help such people, making your office mentally healthy is absolutely necessary.
The mentally unhealthy employee
Do you know any employee at the office, who is either irritated or always appears to be lazy? He might be the one who rarely does anything and is permanently in the bad books of the boss. Everyone knows that he won’t stay there for long, and in our mind, many of us sometimes feel that such people deserve all this because of their sick attitude.
If you know such an employee, you should bear no ill-will to him, as this is how someone suffering from a psychological illness might look like. You should try finding out what is ailing him. If the person has a history of mental illness, you should bring it forward to the boss, and if not, you should ask the person to see a psychologist as soon as possible.
Why mental health in the workplace is so important?
An average person spends a significant time of his life working. Work, if done properly, could in itself become a therapy. If, rather than being a cause of psychological problems, work proves to be a respite from it, it would motivate the employees to keep working. Here are some tips for promoting mental health in workplace.
Tips for making your office mentally healthy
1. Allow frequent breaks
Sitting is the new smoking. According to many studies, sitting continuously for several hours could be as harmful for our health as smoking. Continuous work also contributes heavily to the stress. Therefore, up to a certain degree, we should allow the employees to take small breaks throughout the working day. It’d be best if the break comes just after the employee is done with one task and is switching to another, as that would give him a chance to work on things from a fresher perspective.
2. Know the employees
Having frequent friendly chats with the employees is a must. It would inform you much about what is going on in their lives, and about their personality type. You should pay special attention to the employee, if it seems that he or she is displaying symptoms of certain mental health issues. Don’t always criticise the employees for poor performance, but make it a point to appreciate them whenever they improve. Find out what they are interested in and good at, and use this to knowledge to make the job easier for them.
3. Make the job flexible
At the end of the day, if the work is done, that’s all that matters. Everyone is different. So, it would be much better if, apart from training the employee according to the job, you alter the job slightly according to the employee. There are two factors, first is expertise, and second is interest. Keep these two factors in mind while assigning something to the employee. When the employees are doing something they like, or are good at, it would automatically lead to a better psychological health.
4. Promote employee wellness activities
Promoting employee wellness activities could help you in satisfying your employees and also in attracting the top talents to your office. Frequent get-togethers and outings could go a long way. Try introducing activities that promote frank conversations among your employees. It is a proven fact that food plays a very important part in better psychological health, so it would be better if you organize frequent lunches where you specifically provide foods that boost psychological health. This and other such wellness activities would definitely help in making your office mentally healthy.
5. Be on the watch for mental illnesses
You yourself should know what mental health illnesses are and you should educate your employees about the same. If someone is showing manifest symptoms pertaining to them, or is being infrequent at work, you should help them out. A frank discussion followed by some practical help could prove to be a lifesaver.
6. Introduce mindfulness
Mindfulness is a tried and tested method of combating stress related problems, and many of us know that. Despite that, most of us, especially those from psychological problems, shrink from it. The reason behind this is simple. It is because we do not want to be labelled as a black sheep.
By making mindfulness meditation a part of your employee wellness activities, you can easily overcome this barrier. This would help considerably in creating a positive environment, and in giving special help to those who need it and those who are too afraid to reach out.
7. Change the outlook of your office
A clean, bright, and nicely ventilated office would surely have a positive impact on the minds of the employees. Keep enough glass windows for natural light to seep in. Make sure that the HVAC is clean and works efficiently, as that has an enormous impact on the indoor air quality. Moreover, you should make sure that the office is in a noise free zone.
Apart from that, keeping indoor plants, maintaining less workplace density, and giving a light colour scheme to your office decor are some simple yet effective ways of making your office mentally healthy. Introducing them to your workplace environment, would surely boost both happiness and productivity.