Even with the growing awareness about mental health, the importance of mental wellbeing is still being underestimated. Nearly nine out of ten Germans feel stressed in the workplace. But a little bit of stress never hurt anybody, right?! Whilst stress is sometimes mentally stimulating, it is also a leading cause of “Burn-Out” and depression. It is predicted that by 2020 depression will be the second highest widespread disease in Germany. But this problem is global. In the UK, the proportion of people who reported experiencing work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016 rose by 7%. This makes stress the most common form of work-related illness for the first time. Further still, 300 million people suffer from depression worldwide according to WHO. This may not be directly caused by the workplace but the estimated cost to the global economy is 1 trillion US dollar per year in lost productivity. It is vital then that it is understood in the area of life where we spend so much of our time.
The Benefits of ‚Good Mental Health‘
Workplaces that promote mental health and support people with mental disorders are more likely to:
- Reduce absenteeism
- Increase productivity
- Benefit from associated economic gains
If employees show signs of depression, stress or anxiety and these are spotted early, and the right help is provided, it allows for a better quality of life with increased motivation, interest and ambition – key traits for a good employee. The benefits are numerous for the employer and employee, not just economically but physically and, of course, emotionally.
Causes of a ‚Bad Atmosphere‘
There are numerous factors resulting in a negative workplace which include, but are not limited to:
- Poor communication and management practices
- Bullying or harassment
- Inadequate health and safety policies
- Limited participation in decision-making or low control over one’s area of work
- Low levels of support for employees
- Inflexible working hours
- Unclear tasks or organisational objectives
- Job content/role not being suitable for the individual
Creating a Healthy Workplace
What is a positive or healthy workplace? It can be described as a place where workers and managers actively contribute to the working environment by promoting and protecting the health, safety and well-being of all employees.
How can this be achieved? A guide from the World Economic Forum suggests:
- Implementing and enforcing health and safety policies and practices which include the identification of distress, harmful use of psychoactive substances and illness and providing resources to manage them
- Informing staff that support is available in an open and confidential manner
- Involving employees in decision-making by conveying a feeling of control and participation
- Creating organisational practices that support a healthy work-life balance
- Identifying and aiding the goals of the employee and company
- Recognisingand rewarding the contribution of employees
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