There has been a lot of progress, but I fear management has made that progress and ticked the item on the checklist as “done” without really making sure they’ve hit the mark. Yes, they rolled out a mental health benefit or two, but have they done the work to train managers? Have they understood how employees feel about that relationship and whether they trust their immediate manager? That is where an employee needs to feel safe talking about mental health. If that safety doesn’t exist, all the extra benefits in the world will not help.
These are significant numbers for business leaders to consider.
“The vast majority of workers—eight in 10—are seeking workplaces that offer mental health support, according to a survey of employees from the American Psychological Association. The organization’s 2022 Work and Well-being Survey was conducted online by the Harris Poll among more than 2,000 working adults between April 22 and May 2. The survey also found that 71% believe their employer is more concerned about the mental health of employees now than before the pandemic, while 39% of employees have stated that their workplace environment has had a negative impact on their mental health.”
This statement is an important reminder regarding the people you work with.
“1 in 6.8 people in the average workplace experience mental health problems. Working whilst living with depression can be exhausting. There is a lot that people don’t see. Sometimes it can feel as though we’re almost living two different lives. When others understand our experiences, it can help us to feel less alone.”
As I read about various companies and hear stories from a variety of peers, it becomes obvious that there might be two mindsets when it comes to managing people. One says these are human beings and should be treated as such. The other says these are labor costs and anything I can do to get more productivity from these “tools” for less money is good for my business.
Those might seem like extremes, and they are. I’ll have more to say about these extremes in a later blog post, but if you fall on the side of seeing your people as people, take a look at the suggestions. I truly believe that even in a company that does want to recognize the importance of mental health and support employees, it is still really difficult to talk about. It shouldn’t be that difficult. Consider how we can make it more acceptable and comfortable for everyone to prioritize their mental health.
Clearly, the reality is that work is too much for almost everyone across the entire spectrum, and there are lots of people looking for something better. Something that gives them the ability to be economically stable and also the ability to live a life outside of work with their mental health intact.
I think a little anxiety and anger are appropriate now. Being distracted from your work should actually be a pretty normal reaction to what is going on in the world. Just replace your own national politics for the UK in that survey and can you really say that something hasn’t prevented you from being your best at work during the last couple of years? I’m in the US, I think it’s crazy that there are people going about their work as if nothing is happening, but I also know that is the corporate culture for many of us as well. For the hours you are “at” work, that’s our time. Spend your own time worrying about the world, grieving for lost loved ones, caring for your family, or your own needs, etc.
This is wrong on so many levels. Your people are not hours of labor on a spreadsheet, they are human beings, and human beings should absolutely be affected by what is going on in the world. Expecting them not to be during work hours tells me a lot more about the management team than it does about the workforce.
It surely doesn’t say anything good about the management team either.