I’m glad to see companies seeing this as an issue for themselves, and not just an “outside of work” thing. On the other hand, when we talk about it in these terms, I think I can see part of the reason that there is still so much stigma attached to the idea of getting help for mental health issues.
This is really the big question many of us have, and rightfully so. Hopefully, your workplace is smart enough to encourage you to disconnect during off hours, or take care of your mental health needs, and speak up if you’re feeling burned out. But, what do we do if that same employer also rewards the folks who don’t do any of that? How does an employee keep up healthy boundaries and not get left behind in their career when they watch the peers who work all hours of the day/night, never disconnect, and work in an absolutely non-sustainable way are praised for their “grit and commitment”, and maybe even promoted over folks who work harder at maintaining a sustainable work-life balance?
In the end, maybe that’s the take away I would want any manager to have. That each of your employees is an individual, with individual issues in their own lives in and out of work. Don’t assume you know, and don’t assume they are all OK. Consider some of the larger points about how you can contribute in a positive way to support your employees.
After all, you can either do what you can to help, and keep them with you, or lose them when they realize that the job that does nothing but cause additional stress, with no support, isn’t worth their mental health.
There are a number of things in the article below to consider, but this is definitely the most timely:
“A profound lesson from the pandemic supports this theory, when so many people were suddenly relocated to home offices. We discovered (or rediscovered) that productivity rises when we leave people alone for hours at a time to work without interruption. Those gains are lost when we revert to interruptions, expecting employees to respond nearly immediately to endless incoming emails and messages.”
Whether you want to talk about social media posts about “always grinding”, the never-ending side-hustle, etc. even in the midst of a global pandemic and the acknowledgement of the mental health issues tied to overwork, we still brag about how much we overwork. In the workplace, we talk a good game about employee wellness, and work-life balance, but who wins all the accolades at the end of each project, or quarter? The folks who put in the “extra effort”. (aka “hours”)
It’s as if we never really left that early Protestant environment, and it’s the same reason why so many people who have been successful have such a hard time accepting that things have changed. We still hang on to the belief that says good people work hard, and that hard work leads to success. Bad people don’t work hard, and this is why they don’t have success.
I feel like I can just share the titles of these two articles and make my point. But I will add this one thing. As work moves to a more remote, work from anywhere, model, you have a choice on how to manage your people. You can define the work they need to do, explain how it will be measured and trust them get it done, or you can treat them like children.
Which one do you think will make for better engaged, mentally healthy, employees?