Reports on mental health at work revealed that every fourth out of ten employees, or approximately 40%, have suffered from stress. What are the causes of this problem? Why are the statistics so high? Discover below the main causes of mental health problems in the workplace and why it is considered an issue of increasing concern to companies and business leaders. At the same time, we give you some suggestions on how you can combat mental health problems in your employees – pay close attention!
What are the causes of mental health problems at work?
What is going on in the minds of employees when they feel stressed, anxious or distressed, even to the point of endangering their mental health? What is happening in the workplace? Why does remote work not escape this issue? Here are some of the most common causes of why work-related mental health problems arise.
Mental illness at work due to increased workloads
Mental health at work is incredibly affected by the increase in workload, being the main cause of this type of problems. Four out of ten workers cite it as the main cause. Many employees want to do the best job possible and feel compelled to try to complete all the tasks assigned to them in the shortest possible time. So, it is not uncommon for this to cause employees to burn out. As an employer or leader, it is important to find a balance between getting the best results and the well-being of your staff. An excessive workload not only affects employees in the office, but also at home, as many take projects with them to finish after hours or simply work remotely.
Possible side effects of excessive workload.
Conflicts at home:
An unmanageable workload not only affects employees’ mental health in the office, but also at home, because as we mentioned earlier, many are engaged in finishing unfinished projects outside of work hours or working from home. The inability to disconnect can have a negative impact on relationships and some employees may feel they need to prioritize their workload over family life. This, of course, can increase stress and anxiety and make it difficult for the team to maintain focus and motivation, which, in turn, can affect productivity.
Heavy workloads lead to high levels of stress and this triggers major consequences on employees’ mental health. When stressed, their normal routines can take a back seat and healthy day-to-day activities and actions can easily be forgotten. For example, an employee who normally makes time for a 30-minute session at the gym at break time may decide it is necessary to forgo it in order to meet the delivery of a work task or project. Lack of exercise, poor diet and high stress levels can lead to hypertension, weight gain and a generally unhealthy lifestyle.
Maintaining a lifestyle where balance is key is fundamental. It is important that the different aspects of a person’s life coexist in a healthy way. Exercise and meditation, for example, are aspects that should be considered as important as food. It is the only way to maintain physical and mental well-being, increase productivity at work and achieve personal goals and professional objectives at the same time.
That is why ChVmpion Mind is a business coaching method that knows the problems that exist in this area. And, to solve it, it has devised a 21-week plan where anyone who is really committed will be able to achieve the well-being between life and work that he or she longs for. Exercise and meditation are fundamental axes in this state-of-the-art tool, which can be accessed at any time and in any place, through a digital platform with a simple and intuitive interface.
“Very few people have great willpower to maintain healthy habits that lead to great achievements, but many people have enough talent to take giant steps, they just need to rely on methodologies such as ChVmpion Mind”.
José, L. Meléndez CEO and Co – Founder of ChVmpion Mind
Even the most efficient and hard-working employees have a limit to what they can accomplish in a given period. Many people are driven by the next promotion opportunity or the desire to please their boss, so they often find it very difficult to turn down the extra work that comes to the table. However, long nights at work and the pressure coming from all sides can cause some employees to become mentally, emotionally or physically exhausted. This can lead to higher levels of absenteeism, accidents and lack of concentration. Employees’ mental health will suffer if work overload impacts their daily lives, even if they are trying to secure a promotion.
The Mental Health Foundation agrees that excessive workloads can affect employees’ mental health, stating that the pressure of an increasingly demanding work culture is perhaps the greatest and most pressing challenge to the mental health of the general population.
How do you support staff with a heavy workload?
The well-being of your work staff should be your top and first priority and, if you think someone is suffering from mental health issues associated with their workload, there are a few things you can do about it to support your staff in the right way. Among them:
Time management training:
Some people are more organized and skilled at managing their time than others. Offer training to those who could benefit from it or encourage your colleagues or employees to share strategies. If an employee has the right time management training, he or she can certainly avoid disorganization that can lead to mental health complications.
Organize morning briefings:
Having clear priorities is critical to effectively manage workload and avoid mental health issues. Set up short briefings so that each staff member can discuss their priorities. This way, as a leader, you can have an overview of what is being done each day and change course immediately if necessary.
Provide quiet areas:
Many people cannot concentrate and work in a noisy, busy environment, which can inevitably trigger mental health issues. Make sure you have at least one quiet space where employees can concentrate and work without being interrupted. If you don’t have that space, consider allowing your employees to work from home when they need to do important work that requires full concentration.
Make employees feel valued:
There is only one thing worse than managing the stress of a seemingly never-ending workload: working around the clock and not feeling valued. If employees feel that they are being paid attention to and rewarded for going the extra mile, stress can turn into satisfaction instead of mental health problems at work. Remember, therefore, to recognize and praise employees who have done more than they should have on a particular job or who have put in extra hours and effort.
What does neuroscience say about mental health at work?
Neuroscience has provided a deeper understanding of the relationship between mental health and work. Studies have shown that chronic stress at work can have detrimental effects on the brain and mental health. For example, chronic work stress has been linked to a decrease in the volume of the hippocampus, a brain region important for memory and learning.
In addition, research has shown that a negative work environment can contribute to depression and anxiety. People who experience workplace bullying, lack of social support and discrimination at work are at an increased risk of developing mental health problems.
On the other hand…
A positive, healthy work environment can have a very good impact on mental health. Studies have shown that participation in workplace wellness activities, such as mindfulness or yoga programs, can reduce stress levels and improve emotional well-being. Also, job autonomy and social support at work have been found to be related to better mental health.
In summary, neuroscience has shown that the work environment and chronic stress can have a significant impact on mental health. It is important that employers take steps to create a positive and healthy work environment and provide resources to support the mental health of their employees.