The mental health of employees it’s key for avoiding absenteeism and improve productivity. However, most people prefer not talking about mental disorders due to the stigma and prejudices around the topic.
Unemployment can cause mental issues, but mental issues also make finding a job harder. According to recent researches, people that confess their mental disorders remain unemployed three to four times than people that not do it. In consequence, the unemployment rate is higher in this population group. For example, in Canada, 30% of people with depression and anxiety are unoccupied.
It’s Okay to Not Be Okay
In 2020, the COVID-19 lockdown put mental health at the center of the discussion. The abrupt changes in work processes and workspaces, added to the stress caused by the negative news about the pandemic, raised serious concerns in human resources departments.
In Brazil, the media informed about another pandemic: burnout caused by moving the office to the home. While some companies reported an increase in productivity, others began to talk about a drop in productivity.
A survey conducted by Benenden Health showed that seven out of ten employees have suffered from a mental health-related problem recently.
Today, most companies are aware that employees are more efficient when they feel good and happy. A nice workspace helps a lot. Ventilation, lighting, and spaces for socializing contribute to the well-being of employees. However, workers also have a life outside of work and, like it or not, this sometimes affects their productivity.
This fact is particularly true in these times. In the media, there is a constant barrage of stressful information. Safety measures cause people to be on constant alert, while in some special cases workers may have sick close relatives.
Let’s talk about mental health
When a happy workspace is not enough to guarantee mental health, at Space Works they propose to promote talking about mental health at work. The advice they offer to improve work culture includes talking about work-related concerns to build confidence in the team to express the problems that everyone has, understand them and help them find solutions.
This measure implies a broader commitment for the company that goes beyond free snacks or relaxation areas because it implies understanding employees more deeply.
To achieve this deeper understanding requires destigmatizing mental health in the workplace. One Google initiative aimed at this goal is Blue Dot, a network for discussing mental problems with colleagues at work.
The network is not group therapy nor is it intended to offer advice, but simply seeks to listen to collaborators.
When managers talk about mental, the stigma on mental health is removed and it is easier for a person to recognize the problem and seek professional help, while it is easier for team leaders to find solutions to reduce absenteeism and improve productivity. In this way, everybody can be happy. And if they can not, they know that they have support for looking for professional aid.