Mental Health in the Workplace: HR’s Role in Employee Well-Being

In this article, we discuss HR’s role in employee well-being and the significance it holds.

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In the developmental era of technological advancements and fast-paced lifestyles, something that is being least focused on is mental health which has distressing consequences.

It is the need of the hour to prioritise employees' mental health not only to accomplish desirable objectives of the organisation but also to emphasise on the personal mental well-being of employees and construct a healthy work environment.

The majority time of the employees in an entire day is dedicated to work, so it is the responsibility of the management to lay policies that would best suit the employee's needs and align with the mental well-being of their employees.

Employees perform best when their mental health is stabilised and the work environment is supportive. So, it is essential for HR professionals to consider the mental well-being of their employees while framing norms and policies for organisational development. Let us understand in detail about mental health in the workplace and what significance it holds.

What Is Mental Health at the Workplace?

Mental health in the workplace refers to the psychological and emotional well-being of employees in their work environment. Promoting mental health in the workplace is not only essential for the individuals involved but also beneficial for organisations as it can lead to increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, and enhanced positive work culture.

Employees are considered as the most vital assets of the organisation. The productivity and workflow of the organisation majorly depend on the workforce and their activities.

So, a healthy work atmosphere is a necessity for both the employer and employee to keep up with the dynamic business trends and organisational development.

Why Is Mental Health Important in the Workplace?

Mental health is critically important in the workplace for several reasons, and its significance extends to both employees and employers. Here are key reasons why mental health matters in the workplace:

1. Employee Well-Being: First and foremost, the well-being of employees is a primary concern. When employees have good mental health, they are happier, more satisfied with their jobs, and generally more content in their personal as well as professional lives. This as a result surges their motivation to perform with their best of potent and intellect.

2. Productivity and Performance: Good mental health is closely linked to increased productivity and better job performance. Employees with robust mental health, can concentrate more effectively, make sound decisions, and complete tasks efficiently. This is not only beneficial for organisational growth but also for employee's personal development in the long term.

3. Reduced Absenteeism: Mental health issues, such as stress, anxiety, burnout, and depression, are leading causes of absenteeism. Promoting mental health can help reduce the number of sick days employees take.

4. Lower Turnover Rates: Organisations that prioritise mental health tend to have lower turnover rates. When employees feel supported and valued, they are more likely to continue with their prevailing employment.

5. Creativity and Innovation: Good mental health can foster creativity and innovation. Employees who feel mentally well are more likely to think outside the box and come up with new ideas and solutions.

6. Team Dynamics:
A workplace that prioritises mental health is likely to have healthier team dynamics. When employees are mentally well, they are better at communicating, collaborating, and resolving conflicts.

7. Reduced Workplace Conflicts: Mental health problems can contribute to workplace conflicts. Addressing mental health issues can help reduce interpersonal conflicts and create a more harmonious work environment.

8. Risk Mitigation: Neglecting mental health in the workplace can lead to legal and reputational risks for organisations. Discrimination or failure to accommodate employees with mental health conditions can result in legal consequences and damage to an organisation's reputation.

9. Attracting Talent: Companies that prioritise mental health are often more attractive to prospective employees. Job seekers are increasingly looking for employers who offer a supportive and inclusive work environment.

10. Employee Engagement: Employees who are mentally well are more engaged in their work. They are enthusiastic, committed, and motivated, leading to higher job satisfaction and better outcomes for the organisation.

11. Ethical Responsibility:
It is ethically important for organisations to accommodate employees with a peaceful and healthy work environment.

Employees are valuables for the organisation and they invest their intellect, and time for the achievement of organisational growth. So, it is vital for the management to look into their well-being both physically and mentally.

What Causes Poor Mental Health at Work?

Poor mental health at work can have distressful consequences for the management and the organisation as it can lead to the degradation of organisational development.

Some of the factors that stimulate poor mental health at work are:

• Heavy workloads.
• Burnouts due to excessive work hours.
• Tight deadlines.
• Biases and discriminations.
• Favouritism towards certain employees or group.
• Prolonged period of overwork.
• Job insecurity.
• Non-equilibrated work-life balance.
• Lack of work scheduling.
• Bullying and harassment.
• Undervalued handworks.
• Lack of recognition and rewards.
• Lack of supportive peers, management, and other staff members.
• Inadequate training.
• Faulty management.
Unsafe physical work environment.
• Personal dilemmas such as financial constraints, health issues, and more.
• Lack of mental health support, etc.
• It is necessary for HR professionals to address these causes to construct a supporting work environment that values employees.
• Employee-centric organisations having diversified and inclusive employees tend to be positive and attract prospective candidates in the long run.

How Do You Maintain Mental Health in the Workplace?

As in the previous statements we understood how important it is to maintain the mental well-being of employees, we should now understand or know how to maintain mental health in the workplace.

Here are some strategies that can assist the management in maintaining mental health in the workplace:

• Take regular short breaks.
• Avoid office politics or gossip.
• Prioritise work-life balance.
• Organise work schedule.
• Set realistic goals.
Join a mentoring programme.
• Prioritise relaxation techniques in case of tight deadlines.
• Be vocal about the concerning facts.
• Keep transparency work schedules.
• Maintain a healthy diet.
• Keep away from toxins.
• Stay hydrated.
• Seek social support (if needed).
• Stay connected with peers, seniors, and others.
• Appreciate positive aspects of work life.
• Share your feedback honestly.
• Use your benefits.
• Practice self-compassion and accept the days of failure.
• Take leaves if you need self-care and rejuvenation due to burnout.
• Align your objectives with organisational accomplishments, etc.

Why Should HR Leaders Care About Mental Health in the Workplace?

HR professionals are considered the junction between the senior management and the employees and it is their responsibility to keep up with the well-being of the organisation by liaising well with the entire public of the organisation. The HR professionals are expected to care about the mental health in the workplace because:

• They are responsible for the well-being of employees.
• Laws and regulations in many countries demand the availability of a safe and healthy work environment. So, to stay away from legal lawsuits it is essential for HR • professionals to care about mental health in the workplace.
• Poor mental health can affect the work pace of employees hence affecting their efficiency and overall productivity of the organisation.
• To retain best-performing employees and keep the attrition rate in control.
• To attract top talents by maintaining a healthy work ethos.
• Enhancing presenteeism which surges daily employee attendance and enhances overall company’s productivity.
• Demonstrate organisational values.
• When employees feel that their employer genuinely cares about their mental well-being, they are more likely to be engaged, loyal, and committed to the organisation, etc.

How Can Promoting Mental Health in the Workplace Improve Company Culture?

Improved mental health in the workplace can significantly improve company culture by:

• Improving relationships and employee connection with the organisation.
• Reduce stigma associated with mental health issues.
• Fosters trust between employer and employees.
• Boost employee morale and improve their efficiency.
• Improves team dynamics by strengthening relationships among team members.
• Decrease turnover ratio by enhancing positive and supportive work ethos.
• Employees who feel their mental health is aligned with the organisational objectives are more likely to perform at the best of their potential, hence enhancing productivity
• Showcases the organisation’s commitment towards the accomplishment of ethical and social responsibilities.    
• Mitigates internal conflicts, and legal lawsuits and keeps the company’s reputation at optimum.    

In summary, promoting mental health in the workplace can have a profound impact on company culture, creating an environment that is more inclusive, supportive, and positive. Hence, it can lead to increased employee trust, loyalty, engagement, and satisfaction, ultimately benefiting the organisation's overall success and reputation.

How Can HR and Employers Support Mental Health in the Workplace?

Step 1 - Recognise Mental Health Awareness: The first step is to recognise the gaps that are stimulating mental constraints in employees. Awareness is the first initiative to learn the signs of stress in employees.

Step 2 - Address the Issues: The next step is to address the issues that your employees are vocal about and also address the underlying non-vocal issues like burnout and tight deadlines that get covered in responsibilities concerning employees' mental health.

Step 3 - Work-Life Balance: An equilibrated work-life balance acts as a wonder for both employers and employees. A happy employee tends to be more efficient in working as their focus doesn’t drift towards out-of-office ongoing. Hence, it is important for HR professionals to frame policies and procedures that would suit the mental health and well-being of the employees and contribute to work-life balance.

Step 4 - Reduce Stigma: HR leaders can play a crucial role in reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues by promoting open dialogue, providing resources, and implementing anti-discrimination policies.

Step 5 - Accommodating Diverse Needs: Employees have diverse mental health needs, and HR leaders can ensure that the workplace accommodates these needs, whether it's providing flexibility, reasonable accommodations, or access to mental health resources.

Step 6 - Initiate Eaps and Support Programs: HR leaders often oversee Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) and support services. These resources are valuable in assisting employees facing mental health challenges. So, support programs are required to be initiated frequently to keep a check on employees’ mental health and assist them in hailing out from mental stress and difficulties.

Step 7 - Promoting Mental Health Literacy:  Last but not least, promoting mental health literacy is highly essential for HR professionals to mitigate bullies and discrimination that are the consequence of less or negligible knowledge of mental health conditions.

Mental health is usually conceived as mental issues for which people discriminate against and bully the person facing so.

So, it is required from HR professionals to discuss in an open forum, workshops, or awareness programs on the mental health essentials, consequences, and assistance available to make the workplace a comfortable space for their employees to work efficiently and safely.

Author Bio

Shilpi Kanungo is a prolific wordsmith in Pocket HRMS smHRt Tech PVT LTD with a passion for weaving blogs that transport readers to the world of knowledge and Technicality. With a background in Journalism and mass communication, her love for writing dates back to her childhood. Shilpi’s articles and guides cover a wide spectrum of topics, from HRMS solutions and cybersecurity to the latest tech trends in the corporate realm. With a knack for turning jargon into understandable language, Shilpi’s writing empowers readers to harness the potential of the digital world. When she's not typing away at her keyboard, you'll find her exploring new gadgets, travelling, or learning new technical advancements in trend. Dive into Shilpi's work for an insightful journey into the digital HRMS realm.

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