Why Should Employees Work on Mental Health?
From contributing to billions of lost dollars in our economy to becoming a confident part of a thriving company, here are 13 answers to the question, “Why is it important for employees to work on mental health?”
- Unresolved Depression Costs the Economy Billions of Dollars
- Maintains a Healthier Culture
- Creates Better Productivity
- Leads to Higher Job Satisfaction and Commitment Levels
- Reduces Burnout
- Produces a Safe Environment Where Employees Can Ask for Help
- Prioritizes the Health of Your Employees
- Develops Lower Stress Levels for Better Work-Life Balance
- Increases Focus and Energy for Higher-quality Work
- Reduces Stigma
- Significantly Impacts Physical Health as Well
- Avoids Drops in Productivity and Errors at Work
- Helps a Company Flourish
Unresolved Depression Costs the Economy Billions of Dollars
Although many people would like to believe that we leave our problems at the doorstep when we go to work, the reality is that when we struggle with our mental health; we bring those issues to work with us.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, unresolved depression alone costs the U.S. economy over $210 billion a year in reduced productivity, absenteeism, and medical costs. Despite this data, many people underestimate how much unresolved emotional issues impact their work life.
Many people repeat unhealthy relationship patterns from their family of origin with their boss and their colleagues at work. For example, the person who hears their critical parent every time their boss gives them constructive feedback. Or the person who struggles with assertiveness and feels left out when working on a project with their colleagues. Difficulty with authority figures and a sense of isolation are common traits that can show up at work when a person has unresolved relational issues.
Maintains a Healthier Culture
Stress, anxiety, and depression can make people act differently than they would otherwise. It’s more difficult to regulate emotions when you’re already in this kind of mindset, and that can lead to negativity and conflict that can bring down the morale of the entire team and seep into the culture if left unchecked.
When employees work on their mental health, they’re better able to recognize these emotions in themselves and have coping strategies they can use to resolve them. A lot of toxic behaviors are also rooted in psychological or mood disorders. For example, blame culture, undermining colleagues, and spreading gossip are all often rooted in insecurity and low self-worth, while behaviors like bullying, gaslighting, and other manipulative behavior are often perpetrated by narcissists.
Encouraging employees to address these issues head-on through therapy, self-care, and other mental health work can help to eradicate these behaviors.
Creates Better Productivity
There’s no doubt that when employees feel good, both physically and mentally, they have more productive workdays. Stress levels are decreased, focus is increased, and they most likely have better overall job satisfaction.
The combination of these results in improved productivity and better work performance—a winning formula companies have been trying to figure out for decades.
Kelli Anderson, Career Coach, Resume Seed
Leads to Higher Job Satisfaction and Commitment Levels
Employees’ mental health is a very important issue for employers to take into account, as it has such a huge impact on workplace productivity. A healthy mind is one that can think clearly, be focused, and be creative. The opposite is true for an unhealthy mind, leading to decreased productivity, absenteeism, and even turnover.
Having good mental health can impact every aspect of one’s life: how they feel about themselves, how they interact with others, how they perform at work, and even how they approach the world. Employees with good mental health tend to be happier and more productive at work. Studies have found that workers with good mental health are more likely to be engaged in their work and make an effort to do well at it. They also tend to have higher job satisfaction and commitment levels than those without good mental health.
Kimberley Tyler-Smith, VP, Strategy and Growth, Resume Worded
If employees are not working on their mental health, there’s an increased chance they will be burned out and cause team morale to be low. It is important that relationships with managers are established early and often, so employees trust that their concerns (whether mental health-related or not) are heard during one-on-one meetings.
Produces a Safe Environment Where Employees Can Ask for Help
Good mental health is central to a person’s success in any aspect of life. And by success, I don’t simply mean accomplishments. It goes well beyond that into a person’s self-worth, ability to care for and empathize with others, and ability to bring the energy and focus they need to complete anything they desire to do.
Mental health used to be a taboo topic in the workplace. We all know the old adage “Check your personal problems at the door,” and we now embrace the fact that it’s not only impossible, but it’s not healthy. Acknowledging our challenges and being able to bring our authentic selves to work helps us work through mental health struggles.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting that we should use our personal challenges as a long-term excuse for our inability to perform our work or contribute within our organizations, but it should be OK and encouraged to ask for help when it’s needed.
Prioritizes the Health of Your Employees
Mental health is a critical component of employee well-being and should be emphasized as part of the work culture. Investing in corporate wellness can bring many benefits to supporting employees and their mental well-being.
As they face obstacles and setbacks, this can at times take a toll on mental health. If employees are participating in programs making them more aware of mental health and coping strategies, this will promote a culture of resting and recharging, which will also lead to better work outcomes. Employees will be in a headspace where they can provide effective decision-making, support others, and work to their best ability.
In terms of workplace productivity, burnt-out employees will not be capable of providing optimal job performance. If a leader solely cares about the health of their business, then they should remember one thing: if they do not prioritize the health of their employees, then there will be no one to support the health of the business.
Develops Lower Stress Levels for Better Work-Life Balance
Mental health affects all aspects of a person’s life, including work performance, productivity, and overall well-being. Employees must work on their mental health, and employers must take accountability for supporting their teams.
When employees prioritize their mental health, they can improve their focus and concentration, which can lead to increased productivity and better work performance. Employees who work on their mental health develop better coping mechanisms for stress and challenges at work. This helps them to handle difficult situations more effectively, resulting in improved job satisfaction and a healthier work-life balance.
Improved mental health means better communication and collaboration with colleagues, resulting in improved workplace relationships and a more positive work environment.
Increases Focus and Energy for Higher-quality Work
Mental health matters in the workplace, as it can affect employee productivity, overall job satisfaction, and team morale. Studies have shown that when workers are given the resources they need to manage their mental health, they are more productive and engaged with their work tasks.
Mental wellness helps employees stay focused and energized throughout the day, leading to higher-quality work output. They are also less likely to call in sick or take time off due to stress when their mental health is properly managed.
When workers feel comfortable discussing issues related to mental health in the workplace, team morale improves significantly. This leads to greater collaboration between members of the team, which then results in better problem-solving skills and overall job satisfaction within the organization. Ultimately, this will lead to improved job satisfaction among employees as well as increased profitability for businesses!
When employees work on and improve their mental health, it resonates throughout the workplace. Reducing stigma creates an inclusive and supportive work environment, and, perhaps more importantly, leads to change for future generations.
Companies that have the best success with this take a servant leadership approach to mental health. This means there is a top-down priority on improving mental health and it is not only valued but prioritized. This leads to breaking down misconceptions and stereotypes and creates a more informed and compassionate workplace.
Companies will find that their employees are more satisfied with their jobs, productive, and engaged in the workplace when they are not only physically but also mentally fit. Any employer that wants to increase employee retention, create a positive workplace culture, and have improved business outcomes should focus on reducing stigma on mental health in the workplace.
Significantly Impacts Physical Health as Well
Mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, and depression can lead to decreased focus, poor decision-making, and difficulty communicating with colleagues. These issues can also have a significant impact on physical health, leading to chronic health problems, increased healthcare costs, and reduced quality of life.
Prioritizing mental health in the workplace can create a positive workplace culture that values and supports employees’ overall well-being, which can improve employee engagement, job satisfaction, and retention rates—and a healthy and engaged workforce is critical for achieving organizational success.
If mental health is not prioritized, it can result in reduced productivity, absenteeism, and presenteeism (lost productivity).
Avoids Drops in Productivity and Errors at Work
An employee running low on mental health fuel invariably transforms into a distracted and non-committed employee. With their minds elsewhere, they are more prone to making mistakes while at work. Their non-committal attitude also results in them ignoring their duties and responsibilities, thus making them direct contributors to reduced productivity.
Finding excuses to stay away from work meetings or interactions, constantly delaying work tasks, and filing for extensions slowly becomes the norm. Such employees spell trouble for themselves as well as the workplace.
On the other hand, accepting and taking care of their mental health worries helps employees resolve their issues in time, making them the efficient and productive workers they always were.
Helps a Company Flourish
Being an advocate of mental health and working in the health industry, I would start by saying that it is high time we accept the fact that mental illnesses are a reality, a much-ignored reality!
An employee that comes from a secure, stable, and positive place will undoubtedly perform better than an employee who is made to doubt their work.
If an employee displays signs of mental illness, it is the responsibility of the management to take quick action. As an employee, remember your mental wellness should be your priority. Why? Because if you are capable, you are confident; you are fearless. Only then will you be able to help your company flourish.
Each and every employee matters, no matter where they stand on the social hierarchy. Therefore, each employee should try to leave behind all their traumas and past tragedies that hold them back.