Business giants contributing to better workplace mental health

Work being one of the biggest contributors to stress can be detrimental not just to workers but to employers as well. Increased work responsibility, low job satisfaction, lack of support from management and coworkers and undesirable working conditions can greatly affect workers’ mental health and wellbeing.

Neglecting to identify work-related stress can cause chronic stress, which can lead to serious health problems including diabetes, heart diseases, and hypertension. For employers, this can be detrimental and can lead to absenteeism, being unproductive, and high employee turnover rate.

A research released by AXA PPP Healthcare early this year shows that work was the biggest source of stress among workers, with 45 percent of workers pointing to workload as a major stressor.

Forty four percent of senior managers said they were most affected by work-related stress.

Director of psychological services at AXA PPP healthcare, Dr Mark Winwood said the survey results presented serious health concerns.

“It is concerning to see that almost half of the senior managers surveyed report experiencing constant stress. Occasionally experiencing symptoms of stress is to be expected. However, chronic stress can create or exacerbate existing mental health issues, including anxiety and depression and, as such, it is important to manage,” said Dr Winwood.

“By promoting stress-reducing behaviors wherever possible, such as reduction in unnecessary out-of-hours emails, flexible working and an open culture where all employees can discuss their concerns and issues, businesses can minimize the effects of stress on all levels of the workforce. Changes in the workplace culture are best implemented from the top down to effect real change, so managers could help their employees reduce stress, while also helping themselves. Having a company culture that is open about stress and mental ill health will benefit everybody,” he said.

Many companies now understand the vital role that mental health plays in the workplace and are now doing more to promote a mentally healthy work environment.

Major companies like Marks and Spencer (M&S), Mars, Procter &Gamble (P&G), and Santander are now actively supporting mentally healthy workplaces through strategies addressing mental health issues.

According to an article posted on Workplace Savings and Benefits, these well-known brands have been successful in their approach to mental health.

Retail giant, Marks and Spencer established a mental wellbeing hub on its intranet offering advice and relevant information for employees and highlighted the essential information between physical and mental wellbeing.

Mars, on the other hand, focused on equipping line managers to help them support workers who may be suffering from mental health conditions. The company also published dedicated articles in their internal magazine to emphasize the importance of having a positive mental health.

Procter and Gamble introduced a Healthy Minds program to support a mentally healthy work culture.

“We recognize that mental health impacts us all and that the time is right to demonstrate true commitment to this area,” P&G stated in its “Time to Change” pledge.

“Whether we face it as individual, managers, or with our family and friends, we are committed to creating the right culture of support and transparency for our employees in this area.

“We want every P&G employee to better understand mental health and, ultimately, encourage openness, honest discussion, and promote a mentally healthy workplace… setting us all up for success in the future.”

Santander, one of the world’s leading financial institution broaden its approach to the mental wellbeing of its workforce by developing resources for non-work related stress.

There is more to be done to address issues concerning mental health in the workplace. Investing in mental wellness will help workers enjoy a happy and productive career. Every workplace can create a mentally healthy workplace by establishing proactive safety solutions and support services, building better work cultures, and supporting recovery of workers suffering from mental health issues.