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7 Common Reasons for Poor Mental Health of Employees and How You Can Prevent it

10 October 2023

Ensuring sound mental health in employees is as important as physical health. Just like employees can't perform well if they aren't feeling their best at work, their performance can also get affected if they aren't doing well mentally.

There was a time when employees felt it was good to have adequate measures in place to support mental health, but today, it's no more a good to have but a necessity. Not working towards the sound mental health of employees isn't an option anymore! Employers now know that physically and mentally fit employees perform better at work, which is most important for employers.

You may assume that the only reason employees may not feel their best mentally is tension or personal problems at home. You'll be surprised to know that numerous risk factors at work may also contribute to deteriorating mental health in employees.

This blog post highlights some of the most common risk factors that directly impact employees’ mental health and also walks you through how you can ensure your employees are doing well mentally.

What May Be Contributing to Poor Mental Health of Employees?

An employee whose mental health is compromised won't perform as well as they should. Put yourself in the shoes of an employee who's suffering from stress, anxiety, or depression. Will you be able to concentrate on work? Will you be able to give your best at work? Absolutely not!

Someone who isn't fit mentally will struggle every minute of the day to keep themselves together, and their struggle will come in the way of their productivity and efficiency. Before you can brainstorm the ways in which you can improve your employees' mental health, you first need to understand what factors may be contributing to their poor mental health.

We've listed some common reasons your employees' mental health may deteriorate.

1. Unclean or Unorganized Workspace

One of the leading causes of poor mental health in employees is an unclean and unorganized workspace. If your workspace is cluttered and messy and you aren't too careful about cleanliness and hygiene, you shouldn't be surprised when your employees’ productivity starts to go downhill. Clutter has a profound impact on mental health. It can trigger stress and anxiety, and if an individual is constantly stressed or anxious, it can have a long-lasting impact on their mental health.

2. Unsafe Workspace

Another factor that may be contributing to poor mental health in your employees is poor workplace safety. If your employees don't feel safe at work, they'll always be distracted. For example, suppose an employee has to work in an environment where there's a high risk of exposure to hazardous material. In that case, they'll be stressed and scared all the time if the hazardous material isn't properly stored or the employee isn't provided with the right safety equipment. Being stressed at work all the time is bound to affect an employee's mental health and well-being.

3. Poor Communication with the Manager

If the relationship between the manager and employee isn't healthy, the employee won't be mentally fit either. How a manager treats their subordinates has a significant role in how confident, happy, and satisfied an employee feels at work. If a manager isn't empathetic, reasonable, or flexible, the employee may feel stressed at work. As we've said multiple times already, stress isn't good for mental health.

4. Poor Relationship with Coworkers

Just like a healthy relationship with the manager is important for sound mental health, a cordial relationship with coworkers is also very important. Coworker friendships are essential for smooth coordination and communication at work. Even if coworkers don't get along on friendly terms, they should at least get along professionally. If that's not the case, there'll be communication gaps and work delays, which will eventually negatively impact the employees' mental health.

5. Work Pressure

No job comes without pressure and stress. Work pressure is a real thing. If someone tells you their job is stress-free, know that it's not the job that's stress-free; it's just that the individual is able to handle the stress and pressure well. However, there's only a limit to how much pressure one can take. If you pressurize your employees a lot, you'll soon observe a decline in their productivity. Unreasonable pressure causes emotional exhaustion and stress, which can deteriorate an employee's mental health.

6. Poor Job Security

If your organization isn't doing too well and the employees are afraid that they're at risk of getting laid off, it's bound to stress them out. Having no job security is one of the worst nightmares. The fear of losing a job and not having enough means to meet the monthly expenses will naturally stress the employees and affect their mental health.

7. Poor Workplace Comfort

While most of the factors that affect an employee's mental health are directly linked to mental health, workplace comfort affects employee's mental health indirectly. Let's say your employees aren't comfortable at work. They're seated in the wrong posture for several hours every day. This will distract them and affect their performance and efficiency. The inability to deliver expected results within the expected timelines can increase the stress for the employees by several folds. And you already know by now how stress affects mental health.

Is Addressing Poor Employee Mental Health Important?

The answer to this question is a definite yes! If you suspect that your employee's mental health is getting affected, you've got to act fast. A mentally healthy workforce is vital for business growth. Not only do mentally healthy employees perform well and deliver better results, but your attempts to improve the work conditions will also put your organization in good light. Any efforts that you put into making your workplace a safe and healthy place for your employees won't go to waste. From higher employee productivity to higher employee satisfaction to greater employee retention, you'll get to reap several benefits.

How to Boost Employee Mental Health?

As we said above, your efforts to make your workplace a safe and healthy place for the employees won't go to waste. This brings us to a more important part of the discussion; what can you do to boost your employees' mental health and enhance their productivity at work?

We've listed some tips for you below:

Open Communication Gateways

Opening communication gateways between the employees and management can help reduce stress levels in employees and help boost employees' mental health. By open communication gateway, we mean you should give your employees enough freedom so that they're able to raise their concerns and complaints without the fear of being humiliated or insulted. You should show empathy towards your employees and keep in mind that they're humans and they can have problems at work.

Encourage Your Employees to Take Breaks

Another way you can boost your employees' mental health is by encouraging them to take short breaks between work. Working non-stop can exhaust the employees physically and mentally and if they don't take breaks, they'll fail to perform as well as they usually do when they aren't exhausted. You can create relaxing spaces where employees can relax and unwind between work.

Improve Workplace Ergonomics

Uncomfortable and unsafe working conditions also have an adverse effect on employees' mental health. One way to reduce employees' poor mental health risk is to improve workplace ergonomics. Measures as simple as replacing office furniture with ergonomic furniture options like ergonomic chairs and ergonomic workstations to enhance employees' physical comfort can deliver tremendous results! Ergonomic furniture offers enhanced comfort and support to employees, enabling them to work comfortably without any distractions. When they're comfortable at work, they perform better, and with that, their mood and morale both are improved. This has a direct positive effect on mental health.

Offer Mental Health Insurance

Even after taking necessary measures, some employees may still struggle with their mental health. If they don't see mental health professionals, their mental health will continue to deteriorate. Including mental health benefits in health insurance for employees will encourage employees to seek professional help if they feel they aren't doing well mentally. Just knowing they don't have to pay out of pocket will be enough encouragement to seek help, and that's the least of a favor you can do to your employees!

Closing Word

A mentally healthy workforce means a workforce that's operating at its full potential, and that means your business is on the right track! Mental health is a serious and often neglected issue. Its impact is serious, not only on personal health but on the business outcome of a business on a larger scale.

If you have never given thought to your employees' mental well-being before, you shouldn't wait for the consequences of poor employee mental health. Start taking the necessary measures today and safeguard your employees' health and well-being!