Breaking the Taboo: How Control and Community Are Revolutionizing Workplace Mental Health
It’s 2023 and topics like mental health are no longer as taboo as they were a few years ago. Finally!
People are reading, educating themselves and learning how to recognize the signs of stress, depression, and burnout. In others and in themselves, and feeling proud of searching for help, instead of hiding behind the fear of judgment.
As a customer advocate and application consultant I’m often in direct contact with our customers and I have seen firsthand how a company’s attitude towards mental health can impact its customers’ experiences. It’s possible to feel the effects of an overworked and stressed-out employee, which can lead to a negative impression of the company. That’s why it’s essential for companies to prioritize their employees’ mental health and well-being. As a result, I’m proud to be writing articles like this one, advocating for the importance of mental health in the workplace. It’s time for companies to step up and create a work environment that promotes a healthy work-life balance and fosters a positive culture. By doing so, they’ll not only improve their employees’ lives but also the experiences of their customers. A recent article from Harvard Business Review brings to us the perspective of Dr Christina Maslach, a leading researcher on burnout, that attributes that Chronic stress at work usually comes from six primary resources: Workload, Values, Reward, Control (autonomy), Fairness and Community.
Why Prioritizing Control and Community in the Workplace is Crucial for Employee Well-being and Productivity
Now let’s focus on Control and Community. Control is about how much control we have over our own time. How, when and where we work. Some people work better in the morning, others in the afternoon. Some need to be in an office, while others get a panic attack just thinking of the idea of working in an office space. Understanding how the employees of your company work better, respecting their choices and trusting in their result, has become one of the most important things for this new world we are in since Covid and Gen-Z came along.
The community is self-explanatory. Work relationships can make all the difference to the working experience some have. People need people. Having a huge workload will hit you differently if you know you can reach out to a colleague and ask for their help. And let’s not keep leadership out of this equation. Leaders will always be the deal-breakers for how we, as employees, see the company and our work environment. The fear culture is, thankfully, staying in the past, giving space to better leadership.
The Impact of Toxic Work Environments on Mental Health: A Personal Story of Overcoming Adversity
Let me share a personal experience in my first job as an intern. While I was still halfway through university this job took a toll on my mental health and it has influenced my professional path up until now. Bad work practices, humiliation, and fear were a daily routine. As an intern, I relied solely on my coworkers and my boss (BOSS, not Leader. We all know the difference, right?). And as lucky as I was to have a great community there, they came from the wrong place. They came from the fear and despise we all had for our workplace. It took me years of changing jobs and suffering from deep anxiety at work. Until remote work and good leaders brought me back to peace with my professional life.
Prioritizing Mental Health: What Employees Want From Their Employers
According to APA’s (American Psychological Association) 2022 Work and Well-being Survey, 71% agree that employers are now more concerned about employees’ mental health then they were in the past, 81% agree that this will be an important consideration when looking for future work. From the list of types of mental health support employees want from their company, the highest percentages are for flexible hours (41%) and a workplace culture that respects time off (34%), not much behind the ability to work remotely with 33% and four-day work week with 31%.
The New Employee Market: Prioritizing Company Values and Culture in the Search for Opportunities
The world is shifting and finding a company that shares our values and views and are willing to also adapt to what is best to us, employees, is becoming a priority to the ones in the market searching for a new opportunity. And to the ones choosing to stay within their current company. The old bosses and old work culture are being left behind, and so will the companies that don’t accept this.
Prioritizing Employee Mental Health: a Win-win for Companies and Employees Alike
In conclusion, the importance of mental health at the workplace cannot be overstated. As we have discussed, factors such as control over our work and a supportive community can have a significant impact on our well-being. Employers who prioritize their employees’ mental health can benefit from increased productivity, reduced turnover, and a positive company culture.
At Simms & Associates, we understand the challenges that companies face in managing their workforce, but we also know that the right tools and technologies can make a big difference. That’s why we offer customized workforce management solutions and HR software to help companies improve their employees’ health, well-being, and overall job satisfaction. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist your company in creating a healthier, happier workplace.
If you are suffering from burnout, please search for help.
By: Mariana Rosa
Application Consultant and Customer Advocate