Mental Health in Workplace



Mental Health (Whfp, 2018)

In recent years, the issue of mental health has come to light; despite remaining as a taboo subject in the workplace (Mind, 2018). This is due to the lack of awareness and understanding of how mental health conditions impact employees, but also, about the stigma in the office towards people experiencing these conditions at work.

In order to change the way people see mental health problems, celebrities such as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as well as Prince Harry, have joined campaigns in this quest to create awareness among people: ‘Heads Together’ a campaign led by The Royal Foundation which aims to change the conversation around mental health (HeadsTogether,2018) .


Heads Together: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry (HeadsTogether,2018).

As common as it sounds, according to a research made by the charity Time to Change (Time-to-change, 2018), 26% of workers are likely to feel comfortable discussing money problems and 13% able to talk about their mental health at work, even though one in four people experience mental health problems at one point of their career. Furthermore, new official data has revealed that one in three work sickness notes handed out by GP's are not for mental health; impacting the economy through costs to employers related to lower productivity, sickness absence, staff turnover, among others (Shaw-Trust, 2018).

But how are the companies tackling this issue?

Some changes in the working habits have been made in the past years: flexible work, the end of the 9 to 5 schedule, and ‘always on’ culture and rapid evolution of technology (Hrtechnologist, 2018). With this, companies are increasingly conscious of the HR reputation -even considering it as a competitive advantage- and in the implementation of the company culture to promote a better environment in the workplace.

As you might have heard before, ‘company culture’ is just the personality of a company that includes the work environment, their mission, value, ethics, expectations and goals to achieve. All this to get a place where the employees feel they belong to, driven by effective communication, construction of ideas, teamwork and experience.

With the average of 31 hours of work per week in the UK, and 33 hours a week for Londoners (ONS, 2018), the need for inspiration at work is vital to keep your team motivated. The benefits of building a community within your work space are innumerable, from increasing the ease of communication between employees to promoting a sense of camaraderie and improving levels of productivity. Community can also help create clarity of purpose for employees, which is essential if you’re looking to reduce your employment turnover rate.


One of the most powerful trends in corporate culture involves the dramatic shift from focusing on each employee's contribution to the organization to focusing on the employee experience within the organization. SquareSpace (SquareSpace, 2018) is an example of a flat organization that values not only the employee experience but also what he brings to the company. It has been recently voted as the best places to work in New York, since it makes their employee since, through this structure of organization, employees feel more freedom and power of opinion creating more confident (Entrepreneur, 2018).

SquareSpace Office NYC (SquareSpace, 2018)

Other organizations are also engaging employees by offering unique perks that go beyond the traditional health benefits and wellness programs. For example, Google offers free meals, employee trips and parties to meet the rest of the 'community', financial bonuses, etc. (Entrepreneur, 2018).


Google Offices (Google,2018)

Companies are changing their culture with more frequency and I believe, it is a step forward to change things for better. It is about time to adapt to our employees' needs and remove the stigma and discrimination of mental illness. The future looks promising for big companies and corporations, however, this might be a big challenge for those companies located in non-developed countries where conservative cultures and small budgets could affect this transformation change.

Is it impossible? Don’t think so… we’ll see!

References

Forth. (2018). Stress Statistics UK 2018 - Survey of 2,000 British People on Causes of Stress and How They Relieve It. [online] Available at: https://www.forthwithlife.co.uk/blog/great-britain-and-stress/)./ [Accessed 20 Sept. 2018].

Heads Together. (2018). The Duchess Launches Heads Together's new mental health project for young children | Heads Together. [online] Available at: https://www.headstogether.org.uk/schools/ [Accessed 19 Sept. 2018].

Hrtechnologist.com. (2018). 4 Trends Shaping the Future of Work. [online] Available at: https://www.hrtechnologist.com/articles/digital-transformation/4-trends-shaping-the-future-of-work/# [Accessed 19 Sept. 2018].

Mind.org.uk. (2018). Mental health at work | Mind, the mental health charity - help for mental health problems. [online] Available at: https://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/ [Accessed 19 Sept. 2018].

Patel, S. (2018). 10 Examples of Companies With Fantastic Cultures. [online] Entrepreneur. Available at: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/249174 [Accessed 20 Sept. 2018].

West Highland Free Press - www.whfp.com. (2018). Questions over Skye mental health provision. [online] Available at: https://www.whfp.com/2018/09/13/questions-over-skye-mental-health-provision/ [Accessed 19 Sept. 2018].


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