There’s a number of factors that can contribute to poor mental health in the workplace, most of which only lead to further stress if left unaddressed. These can include not getting along with colleagues, unnecessary pressure and intense deadlines. For a new starter these can be an unwelcoming team, lack of support from other employees and poor training. If we add the recent global pandemic into the mix, you can extend the list with pressures of working from home, change of routine, lack of support and so on.
Did you know that poor mental health costs each employer £1,035 per employee, per year? Cake HR explains that mental health is the leading 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 or more. Each and every mental health issue affects individuals 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 issues 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. Equally, for those working from home due to COVID-19 who would usually bounce off colleagues, they've had to get used to working remotely, again discouraging communication and pushing them to work in silo.
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.