Studies have shown that a positive work environment can contribute to stable mental health and a sense of job satisfaction. However, work can be mentally challenging, leading to mental health issues that affect not only an individual's work but also their overall well-being.
For many of us, work is essential. Whether one is an artist, teacher, corporate employee, or media professional, work demands full commitment, physically, mentally, and emotionally. It's common to remind oneself to be more productive at work, but it's also essential to achieve work-life balance.
Journalist Geeti from Delhi said, "Even for journalists, it becomes difficult to be available all the time. An age gap between colleagues leads to communication gaps and misunderstandings resulting in strained relationships at home and work. Additional pressure from the workplace also leads to frustration and anger issues."
According to WHO, depression and anxiety disorders have caused a loss of US$1 trillion to the global economy. The mental health of employees is crucial not only for their well-being but also for organizations to produce better outcomes. Here are some solutions that offices and employees can adopt to improve the work environment:
Poor communication and management: Proper preparation and management are necessary for producing healthy outcomes. Employees may experience mental stress if there is a lack of pre-planning, and positive results are expected in less time. Poor communication can cause disagreements, limited participation, issues between employees, and pending tasks. Open communication is essential to establish understanding and manage workloads fairly.
Bullying and psychological harassment: Improper behavior such as stealing credit, threats, bias, unfair criticism, commenting on physical appearance and capabilities can harm an individual's mental health. This can lead to panic attacks, anxiety, loss of self-esteem, reduced productivity, negative impact on conversations, and difficulty in decision-making.
Unsuitable task and safety policies: In some cases, employees are assigned tasks that are unsuitable for them. These tasks may involve physical strain or personal risk, which can increase when an individual lacks support. Employees performing such tasks may experience extreme fear, lack of confidence, anxiety, and panic attacks.
Lack of encouragement or support: Low support from colleagues and seniors can make employees feel demotivated, under-confident, and unhappy.
Lack of resources: Organizations that expect more but provide fewer resources can create a heavy workload, and workers cannot perform their best with limited resources all the time.
Inflexible working hours: Organizations with inflexible timings such as long working hours and no pay for extra hours can result in decreased quality of employees' work, health problems, and lack of sleep.
Experts say that if these factors persist, they may lead to terminal illnesses like depression or aggravate existing mental disorders.
A writer from Lucknow shared, "When work becomes overwhelming, achieving a work-life balance becomes difficult. Overexposure to screens and ensuing fatigue makes it difficult to remain inspired."
What can an organization do?
● Let employees know that support is available for everyone
● Recognize and reward workers for their involvement
● Provide ample resources to avoid overburdening
● Implement health and safety policies
● Involve employees in decision-making
● Promote recreational activities
On a personal level, mutual respect, understanding, listening patiently, and occasional compliments can go a long way in maintaining healthy mental health.