Be strong. This too shall pass. While this principle recognizes the impermanence of personal tribulation and promises recovery for the more resilient, in this day and age, it just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Sure, there is wisdom there that the younger generation could draw from in their times of struggle. However, it glosses over an unseen aspect of ourselves; it completely dismisses psychology and mental health.
If there is anything to laud in the current era it is its regard for mental health. And what’s notable about this is that the private sector is starting to realize the value of looking after company employees’ psychological well-being. It appears the stigma around the issue is fast becoming a thing of the past.
As the matter stands, companies are recognizing the importance of looking after their workers’ mental health. Or so we would like to think.
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Workplace Stress – By The Numbers
An article published by Harvard Business Review stipulates that more than 200 million workdays are lost annually due to mental health issues. The losses incurred amount to $16.8 billion in employee productivity.
However, even with the efforts by private companies, the article reports that 60% of employees do not speak about their mental health issues at work. In addition, an article from Starling Minds.com stipulates that 75% of employees said that the company they work for does not have a ready mental health strategy. They stated that having one would aid them in dealing with stress, anxiety, and depression at work.
On top of that, the Canadian Mental Health Commission reports that Canada spends only 7.2% of its healthcare budget to address mental health concerns. This belongs to the lowest of all G7 countries.
These figures strongly suggest that nations, let alone workplaces, are neither equipped nor entirely comfortable with the topic.
Workplace Stress – Signs to Look Out For
In addressing potential mental health issues in the workplace, recognizing possible stimuli should take precedence. These days, the pursuit of mastery in our chosen professions, greater productivity, and, as we would hate to admit it, recognition for our work, have been causing us a great amount of stress.
A report released by the American Institute of Stress stipulates that 83% of workers in the United States experience work-related stress. From the sample, 25% of them point to their jobs as their main stressor. The study furthers that about 1 million Americans skip work due to stress. Meanwhile, 76% of American workers claim that stress in the workplace impacts their personal relationships.
Stress manifests itself through certain symptoms. Let us take a look at some of them.
Physical Symptoms of Workplace Stress
While stress lives in our heads uninvited, you will be able to see it through several physical signs. You might find some of them commonplace, not knowing that they are signs you should be wary of.
Also called tension headaches, these occur when the muscles of your scalp and neck contract or become tense. Prevalent among adults, (although it may be experienced at any age) this is your body’s initial response to possible stresses, anxiety, or depression.
2. Teeth Grinding
Termed in professional circles as bruxism, teeth grinding is when you grind or clench your teeth when you are awake or sleeping. Stress and anxiety are among the possible mental causes of Awake bruxism.
3. Sweaty Palms
Your palms are among the body parts wherein stress can manifest. Sweaty palms usually happen when you begin to worry too much to the point of becoming unbearable.
4. Rapid Heart Rate
Heart palpitations feel like your heart races or skips a beat. In general, your heartbeat can hasten when you are faced with stressful circumstances. Your heart may also palpitate as a sign of an anxiety disorder. At such an event you need to approach a professional to get the right diagnosis.
5. Stomach and or Digestive Issues
Stress can cause your large intestine’s motor function to increase. As this is the case, there would be times that you might experience diarrhea or bowel urgency when facing stress.
Psychological Symptoms of Workplace Stress
While the signs discussed above are already challenging to truly overcome, what’s even more tricky to deal with are the psychological symptoms. To help you determine and navigate them, here are some things that you might want to look into:
1. Difficulty Concentrating
You might find it challenging to stay on task when you are facing stress. It affects how you think and feel, causing you to get distracted from the present as it flings you into a future that may never even happen in the first place.
2. Low Productivity
Of course, when you are distracted from the task at hand, your productivity gets affected as well. A study published online by the National Library of Medicine suggested a negative correlation between stress and productivity. The study found that higher stress scores were linked to low scores in productivity.
In a study cited by Healthline.com, increased levels of irritability are linked to mental stresses. The study suggests that irritability can become a common trait shared by people who are stressed.
Defined as an inclination to believe that the people around you are only motivated by selfish interests, cynicism may also develop as a sign of stress. It may be caused by burnout from strenuous and piling demands in the workplace.
5. Mood Swings
People who experience great amounts of stress may be subjected to varying levels of moods. An article from WebMD says that Chronic stress may cause you to switch from feeling despondent to angry, then bitter alongside other negative emotions.
6. Social Withdrawal
Social withdrawal happens when you separate or isolate yourself from other people as you find it difficult to integrate with them. General anxiety may be the cause of this. Those who experience it may be feeling worried or too anxious about blending in.
Memory loss may result from anxiety, stress, or depression. These stimuli affect memory as they make it hard for you to focus and retain new information.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, do not be afraid to seek guidance from friends, family, or even better, a professional. Given that these are possibly related to work, talking to a representative from your company’s Human Resources department would be recommendable. Remember, always recognize how you feel as these are markers of an internal issue. These symptoms are your mind and body’s ways of saying that you need to address and resolve certain mental health concerns.
5 Advantages in Putting Mental Health First in Workplaces
Putting psychological well-being above employee productivity will help workers perform at their best.
To contribute to the ongoing discussion, let us tackle five advantages of prioritizing mental health in the workplace.
1. Increased Productivity and Job Performance
According to the World Health Organization’s official website, workplaces with clear programs supporting mental health have higher productivity and reduced absenteeism.
The report stipulates that in the United States, every $1 put into scaled-up treatment for mental disorders returns a surprising $4 in better productivity and health.
Supporting mental health in the workplace makes employees mentally tougher and more resilient in dealing with decision-making and project setbacks. Workflow is improved and targets are achieved with relative ease.
2. Better Teamwork and Colleague Dynamics
Smooth teamwork and mental health have a sort of symbiotic relationship. When mental well-being is cared for in the workplace, individuals can integrate with their teammates better. They can work without having to constantly look over their shoulder or clam up when the going gets tough.
And when teamwork is good, with all members onboard the work and absent of any negativity that might serve to trigger untoward behavior, people challenged with mental health-related issues can work comfortably.
3. Reduction of Risks and Costs
As already mentioned, when employees are provided better solutions for issues in their psychological well-being, they will not find it hard to integrate into the workplace. This leads to fewer incidences of absenteeism which also leads to lesser costs.
Also, with increased productivity owed to competent mental health programs, company losses and expenses are kept at bay. Mind you, these losses not only pertain to greater production costs but also to competent employees who are given no choice but to resign.
4. Job Satisfaction
When good mental health strategies are implemented in a workplace, this sets the stage for a positive working atmosphere.
If the working environment gives considerable mental space, employees would not be second-guessing if the company provides for their needs. This will imbue in them a feeling of being satisfied in their position.
5. Greater Career Growth
When employees are performing to the most of their potential in light of better mental health, then they can participate better in the team. This also creates precedence for them to assume leadership roles.
When a company does its best to cater to its employees’ concerns it can motivate them to see the best in themselves.
Much Work Has to Be Done
Establishing 4-day work weeks, allowing employees to use their Sick Leaves to care for mental health, conducting personal counseling, and the like are efforts that are more than appreciated. These show that the private sector is becoming more aware and sensitive to its employees’ needs. However, with the rising anxieties created by modern living, these initiatives need to be augmented.
Costs and customized programs supporting mental health are challenges that companies need to weather in their pursuit of better care for their employees.
If you are handling a company challenged with coming up with measures to deal with your employees’ mental health concerns, having a discussion with a professional group benefits broker would be recommendable.
While searching for and booking appointments with group benefits providers may prove time-consuming and tedious, making the necessary arrangements now helps avoid other issues that may arise.
Note that a broker already has a relationship with all of Canada’s top providers and knows the policies inside and out. Even more importantly, they know that each company, big or small, has its own unique needs and requirements and cannot only compare side-by-side group benefits quotes for you but can also assist in customizing a plan that suits each employee.
It cannot be stressed enough that your company needs to prioritize mental health in your workplace. Connect with Group Enroll today. One of our top-rated agents looks forward to working with you.