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Mental Health in the Office

04 June 2021

Work is a good part of a person’s life as it provides a way for people to maintain their basic necessities. However, a negative working environment and overworking people without any thought to their physical and mental health could be damning. It would lead to health problems for the employees that may need medication for the rest of their lives which would be an additional expense. That said, work does not provide but takes a lifetime of adverse effects. 

On the company’s side, the global estimate of mental health issues is a $1 trillion loss in productivity. Harassment and a large volume of work put on the shoulders of one employee instead of hiring staff can cause a substantial negative impact on workers.

However, according to the World Health Organization for every dollar spent on promoting mental health is a $4 return in improved health and productivity. Here are other statistics regarding mental health in the workplace in the US, that can further convince people that metal  health matters: 

  1. It is said that 71% of adults in the U.S. have one symptom of stress or more 
  2. 61% of workers have said their mental health affected their productivity in a study 
  3. Within 2014 and 2018, the percentage with symptoms of depression increased by 18% 
  4. 37% of employees who have participated in a study said their work environment contributed to the mental health symptoms they experienced. 
  5. Mental health disorders and substance abuse issues cost American employers between $79 and $105 billion a year in indirect costs. 

The benefits of promoting both physical and mental health are high both in quantifiable and non-quantifiable terms.

Since a third up to a half of American adults of working age at one time have suffered some mental and behavioral problems at one point in their life, the workplace is the most ideal setting to promote initiatives for mental health.

For companies, healthy employees who keep the gear for the business running would equate to millions of dollars saved in health care, staffing, and productivity. Reduced absenteeism and increased presenteeism of around 40 to 60 percent were noted in a research in 2018. This is for companies who have promoted initiatives for their employees to have a mental illness like depression and anxiety treated professionally. This would not be a surprise since it is estimated that 90% of people with depression report functional impairment because of their depression, and 27% report serious difficulties both at home and work place. 

The societal impact of mental health was so huge and estimated in 2010 to be at a cost of $210 billion. Using the current percentage increase, this could balloon for up to $6 trillion by 2030. There is a spillover of this to businesses.

The Integrated Benefits Institute noted that physical health primarily is the reason for absenteeism. However mental illness like depression or anxiety affects work performance and an unsupportive work environment is a factor for both absenteeism and low productivity. 

Mental Health and Physical Health

We might also want to remember that mental health affects physical health, so it is a domino effect. On the other hand, the companies that have mental health care initiatives in place can expect an increase in retention and a reduction in turnover rate.

Apart from that, there will be a decreased disability and healthcare costs. In a study conducted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness, working adults are two times more likely to suffer from cardiovascular and other metabolic diseases. With that said, here are some steps a business could do to boost mental health for employees: 

  1. Set up an intervention and enforce health and safety policies in the workplace. This would include identifying any signs of distress and providing resources on how to healthily manage that. Workplace policy on harassment and bullying is also a good start. 
  2. Incorporate mental health into the health benefits and insurance of employees. There are companies that have mental health crisis lines that are available to the employees 24/7 and a support SOP for women trying to leave an abusive family or situation. There are also some who have psychological therapy included in their HMO.  
  3. Career development, rewarding contributions of the employees, giving everyone a chance to participate in decision making and projects are also advisable. Anything that promotes a work-life balance is a great way to promote mental health in the office. 

Workers on the other hand can also supplement any company-driven mental health initiatives, by having their own mental health regimen.  

  1. It is best to stick to a schedule and maintain it. Working during the designated hours will give you ample time to rest and recharge. It would also give you time for your morning routine and exercise that would ultimately be good for your physical and mental health.  
  2. Like anyone would identify things they are allergic to, you can start observing yourself and identifying the triggers for your mental health issues. To do this, you can start a list or keep a journal of the things that happened prior to the stress that you have experienced. If this happens, you should do relaxing exercises right after such as stretching, having a walk, or doing breathing exercises.
  3. Breaking down your tasks to smaller things to do would give you a sense of achievement and fulfillment. This would also help you to manage your anxiety and the feeling of being overwhelmed especially when the work volume is high. It is also good to know your limits and not go above them if it is not humanly possible. 

At  FlexiSpot, you will find the Office Massage Chair Ergonomic Desk Chair 5080 which you can use not only when you are doing your breathing exercises, it will also to relax your body so you can handle stress with more mental clarity. It would be a perfect addition to an employee's mental health.