2015 Wellbeing November Mental
Loving or hating a job can cause more or less stress in life. Did you know, 70% of those currently employed are searching for other jobs.
Less than one-third of Americans are happy with their work. Half of the workforce is “checked-out.” Eighteen percent are unhappy with their current position with some even sabotaging the success of their workplace. An unhappy or unhealthy work environment is bad for a business’ bottom line and bad for employees.
Studies have shown being unhappy with or unfulfilled by work can take a toll on our health, relationships, and even lifespan. Those in unhealthy work environments tend to gain more weight, have more healthcare appointments, and have higher rates of absenteeism. Stress from work can also impact their family life, mental health, and even increase risks for chronic illnesses and heart attacks.
So what separates the few who are excited about their work from the majority of Americans? While there are some differences among age groups and types of employment, a healthy work environment is key to job satisfaction. The happiest employees tend to include interpersonal relationships, commitment to the organization, and a sense of meaning or purpose among the parts of their job with which they are most satisfied. Conversely, those leaving their jobs tend to cite lack of respect, teamwork, and potential for growth among top reasons for quitting.
A healthy workplace is one where individuals feel valued and supported, provides a positive workspace, and shows respect for other aspects of a person’s life. If you’re uncertain as to whether your workplace is on the path to wellness, the signs below may provide some helpful tips:
- Productive Atmosphere. Clean, functional and well-lit space. Good working relationship with all staff. Employees feel respected, appreciated, incentivized, and rewarded. Signs of intimidation, bullying, sexual harassment, and fear are absent.
- Livable wage. Providing a livable wage encourages a committed and sustained workforce.
- Reasonable accommodation. Employers and employees have to work collaboratively to identify reasonable accommodations (not special treatment) in the workplace for physical as well as mental disabilities. From changing physical work space and schedule to the use of interpreters or technologically adapted equipment, it can run the gamut.
- Health, Wellness, & Environment. Provide a comprehensive health insurance plan including smoking-cessation, weight-loss, and substance abuse programs.
- Open Communication. Keep the communication process transparent. Creating an environment of open communication contributes to a more energetic and productive workforce where all employees can feel invested in the company.
- Employee Accountability. It takes two to make a healthy workplace. Employees have to come with a “can-do” attitude and be willing to support each other as well as management.
- Management Accountability. Allow employees to provide work-related feedback to their supervisors. It can be anonymous to avoid the possibility of negative repercussions.
- Work/Life Balance. We now live in a world where technology is available to keep us connected to work around the clock. Work options such as flexible scheduling, hoteling (reservation-based unassigned seating) or telecommuting ought to be implemented if applicable.
- Clear & Positive Values. Be transparent and definitive about what the organization stands for. People in as well as outside of the company should have a good understanding of this.
- Fitness. Offer a gym membership, fitness class or even just an exercise space that encourages employees to become physically active and stay fit. If possible, incentivize employees to access such services
It is increasingly being recognized that the mental health of employees is a crucial determinant in their overall health and that poor mental health and stress at the workplace can be a contributory factor to a range of physical illnesses like hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular conditions, among others. In addition, poor mental health can also lead to burn-out among employees, seriously affecting their ability to contribute meaningfully in both their personal and professional lives.
Data from different countries around the world indicate that mental health problems are a cause of a number of employees dropping out of work. In the Netherlands, around 58% of the work-related disabilities are related to mental health. In the UK, it is estimated that around 30–40% of the sickness absence is attributable to some form of mental illness.
Mental health problems have an impact on employers and businesses directly through increased absenteeism, negative impact on productivity and profits, as well as an increase in costs to deal with the issue. In addition, they impact employee morale adversely.
Work-related stress is a major cause of occupational ill health, poor productivity and human error. This means increased sickness absence, high staff turnover and poor performance in the organization and a possible increase in accidents due to human error. Work-related stress could also manifest as heart disease, back pain, headaches, gastrointestinal disturbances or various minor illnesses; as well as psychological effects such as anxiety and depression, loss of concentration and poor decision making.
Stress is the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demands placed upon them. There is a clear distinction between pressure, which can be a motivating factor, and stress, which can occur when this pressure becomes excessive.
Some occupations are at more risk of mental health problems than others. A study in the Netherlands mapped skill levels against the pace of work to have an idea about the risk for stress levels and mental ill health for different occupations. Higher stress levels correlated with a higher risk for mental ill health.
A tool to evaluate the level of work-related stress and the measures to be taken thereof to control the same have been extensively used. This tool which is known as the Work Stress Scale (WSS) allows individuals to assess for themselves the degree of stress faced in the following broad domains:
Relationship problems with superiors;
Work family conflict;
Relationship problems with colleagues;
Performance pressure and
Poor job prospects.
November 13th World Kindness Days
November 26th Thanksgiving Day
November 29th National Day of Listening
App: Personal Zen
Book: Bossy Pants by Tina Fey
Aromatherapy: Peace oil is a comforting and calming sedative that counters stress and depression
Steelcase Statistic: 60% of workdays are lost do to stress.