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How does mental health affect office productivity?

Welcome to our second mini blog series, Mental Health & Productivity. Over the course of this series, we’ll be looking into the effects of mental health in the workplace and how productivity is often affected. 

How does mental health affect office productivity?


According to an article by Cake HR, 60% of employees have suffered with mental health problems throughout the past year due to various issues in the workplace. There’s a number of factors that can contribute to poor mental health specifically in the workplace, most of which lead to further stress. These factors include not getting along with colleagues, unnecessary pressure and intense deadlines, or for a new starter – an unwelcoming team, lack of support from other employees, poor training – the list goes on. 

Did you know that mental health costs each employer £1,035 per employee, per year? Cake HR explains that mental health is the primary cause for absenteeism, which is where employers see the biggest financial impact on their business. Even more shockingly, just 13% of people felt that they could disclose their mental health issue to their manager – showing a distinct lack of trust and confidence that they would be taken seriously. 

Mental health can affect people in different ways, whether it be anxiety, depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder – unfortunately, these are just to name a few. Each and every mental health disorder can affect an individual differently. The unpredictability is what can make spotting a mental health problem so difficult, because an employee can seem ‘fine’ one day and then not the next. 


So, how can mental health affect productivity in the workplace?

Mental health issues such as anxiety can cause someone to lose concentration, making it very difficult to multi-task and carry out day-to-day work activities. An employee’s stamina could also be affected, making task deadlines difficult to meet. Someone with anxiety or depression may suffer from paranoia, meaning that even constructive criticism could be taken personally and cause them to doubt themselves and their work, damaging their confidence and abilities in the future.

It may not necessarily be the physical work side of things that is being affected, it could be the dynamic of the workforce, making the office less of a team and more of a competition. A sufferer of mental health may struggle to interact with others and therefore isolate themselves. This causes a huge blockage of communication, meaning that any potential issues that aren’t addressed could cause some long-lasting damage in the future.

Within any office, the culture, atmosphere and general dynamic is constantly changing, which, for someone struggling with their mental health, can be really difficult. The inability to adapt in an ever-changing environment can really slow down what should be a natural growth process within your business. 


Be sure to check back for our second blog of the series where we discuss how you can support your employees through mental health at work. For more information on mental health in the workplace, download our ebook.

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