In today’s hard-driving work culture, it’s common for professionals to let their mental health take a back seat to advancing their careers. Long work hours, stressful deadlines and client expectations can take a toll on productivity and motivation. Many believe that work-life balance in such a fast-paced industry is nonexistent: We do it because we love our jobs and we love what we do!
Too much work and stress can drive down employee productivity and may ultimately drive down business profitability. Studies show that happy workers are 12 percent more productive than the average worker. The correlation between positive workplace sentiment and productivity directly affects a company’s success.
“Providing a healthy culture for our employee-owners is a direct reflection of our mission to outthink, outwork and outperform. We care about our employee-owners’ personal success just as much as we care about their professional success. In the end, it all comes full circle, but it begins with their mental health,” says Hirons COO Jim Parham.
Being mindful of mental health can directly affect the way employees interact and engage in the workplace.
Open Up the Conversation
“Being honest about how we feel doesn’t make us weak – it makes us human,” says entrepreneur and activist Sangu Delle in a recent TedTalk on mental health. Delle, who came to America from Ghana, shared how he copes with anxiety in a new environment that is uncomfortable with emotions.
Oftentimes, employees are hesitant to admit they feel overloaded for fear of seeming like underachievers. Being honest about emotions is the best way to build better communication between employees and employers. If a mental health day is necessary, employees should feel comfortable approaching their employers to ask for it. Employers who care about mental health should be willing to allow flexible schedules and remote working on a situational basis. Employees who work from home are shown to be more productive than those working in an office.
Reduce the Stigma
One in four people will suffer from some form of mental health disorder in their lifetime. However, nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional. “Stigma, discrimination and neglect prevent care and treatment from reaching people with mental disorders,” says the World Health Organization. “Where there is neglect, there is little or no understanding. Where there is no understanding, there is neglect.”
Open dialogue about mental health issues generates better understanding of how colleagues may fare under pressure. Understanding the reasons behind poor mental health and ways to combat it can be the best way of improving awareness and reducing mental health disorders within the workplace.
Healthy Culture Increases Employee Engagement
Companies can take many steps to promote healthy workplace cultures. Flexible hours, opportunities to work from home and generous vacation time policies can give employees the short relief they need to come back refreshed for work.
In-house changes can provide relief as well. Hirons is proud to be among the 20 percent of American companies that have implemented pet-friendly policies. Studies show that interacting with dogs in the workplace can decrease levels of cortisol, which relates to stress. We love all four of our Hirons pups, Cleo, Maya, Sophie and Finn!