Positive mental health is a necessary component of your physical and emotional prosperity. Considering this, our mental health has a direct impact on what we think, how we act, and how we perceive our surroundings. Furthermore, it primarily affects how we interact with others, how we deal with adversity, and how we arrive at decisions .
How Much Time Do We Really Spend At Work?
If we take the average Canadian who works 40 hours per week and we account for two weeks of vacation, we find that the average Canadian worker spends about 2,000 hours per year at their place of employment. In comparison, the University of Waterloo conducted a survey that gathered information regarding how much time students spent with their friends per day. They found that, on average, students spent about 85 minutes, which equals about 9.9 hours per week and 515 hours per year. This is only about 25% of the time that the average Canadian spends at work. Thus, given this substantial chunk of time spent at work, it is a given fact that maintaining positive work culture in our respective workplaces is extremely important.
Factors Affecting Health
Several factors have been proven to impact the mental health of employees negatively. Lack of involvement in decision making, unfair treatment, unreasonable workloads, unclear expectations, poor communication, and an isolated work environment can all negatively impact the mental health of a worker. It is an employer’s responsibility to address mental health concerns by supporting their employees’ wellbeing daily. This includes eliminating any instances of discrimination or stigmatism, protecting employees from getting burnt out, keeping a heightened awareness of harassment or bullying in the workplace, and rewarding employees appropriately for performing well. The good news is that companies, managers, and directors are becoming increasingly more aware of the importance of cultivating mental health within their organizations.
Why it is a Crucial Topic
According to the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC), 1 in 5 Canadians lives with a mental illness each year, and about 27% of the Canadian workforce is experiencing mental health problems that are negatively impacting their productivity. An employee that does not have good mental health is less productive, less engaged, and will be less satisfied with their work and with their employer. Employees with a positive company culture protects a company’s bottom line by combatting the issue of presenteeism. This phenomenon is evident in situations where a worker comes to work but performs sub-optimally due to a condition that is not enabling them to perform at their potential. The MHCC reported that the total yearly cost from mental health problems in Canada is at least $50 billion and will increase to $2.5 trillion within the next 30 years.
Promoting Safety Culture at Work
Cultivating a respectful safety culture is essential to protecting mental health in the workplace. This encompasses providing adequate opportunities for growth within the company, ensuring that employees know that their efforts are recognized and valued, promoting a healthy work-life balance for workers, being reasonable and thoughtful when it comes to task scope and workloads, maintaining a sensitivity of the impact that new procedures and processes will have on employees, and providing an easily and readily accessible support system for staff. Maintaining open and welcoming lines of communication is also essential to support your people and continue the important discussion about mental health.