Creating a Supportive Environment for Employee Mental Health in High-stress Industries

Chronic stress can impact employees’ confidence, deplete their energy, and ultimately lead to burnout. Health and social work is the most stressful industry to work in. According to a 2024 study, employees in this industry experienced the highest stress levels. 3,530 of 100,000 employees reported having to deal with stress related to work. 

Prison officials and security guards also suffer. According to the study, 3,260 of 100,000 workers reported a stress-related health issue. Teachers and other education workers come next, with 2,720 reporting work-related stress incidents.

Employee mental health is more important than some business owners and managers believe. More than one in six people, or 15% of working-age adults, have dealt with a mental disorder at their workplace. Globally, anxiety and depression cause an estimated 12 billion working days a year to be lost, incurring damages of $1 trillion per year. 

Encourage a good work-life balance 

A timecard calculator helps employees track their hours more accurately, ensuring they do not work excessively. A healthy work-life balance is crucial for reducing stress and burnout and for mental health in general.

Accurate time tracking can reduce the stress associated with payroll errors and disputes. Employees can feel more confident that they are being paid correctly for their time, which can reduce financial stress.

Managers can encourage a better work-life balance by setting an example. They must encourage employees to avoid excessive overtime and take paid time off. They should support employees who have urgent family matters to attend to, who must go to medical appointments, or who are dealing with personal issues. 

Companies can offer flexitime, remote working, a compressed work week, or another flexible working arrangement. These options can help reduce stress, contributing to better mental health. Flexible working hours are known to increase productivity and job satisfaction.

Employees should have clearly defined work hours, which is another thing a time-tracking tool can help with. This way, they can fully engage with friends, hobbies, or loved ones when they are not at work. 

How to promote mental health awareness

Unbelievably, the topic of mental health still carries a stigma in 2024. Managers should initiate conversations about it to combat the stigma and promote a workplace culture that accepts psychological issues. They can organize seminars, workshops, training sessions, or even regular meetings to discuss available mental health resources.

Employees would benefit from a physical space to meet, discuss their concerns openly, and share their experiences. This will encourage them to seek help for psychological issues at an early stage. 

Employees also need to be able to provide feedback on any workplace conditions that concern them. Managers should listen to their concerns and act. 

Stress management resources

Another way to create a supportive environment for employee mental health involves offering stress management resources such as access to a quiet room, mindfulness programs, or a gym. Exercise reduces stress and anxiety. Fourteen percent of people exercise regularly to cope with stress. Fifty-three percent of adults feel good about themselves after doing exercise, and 35 percent say it improves their mood.

It’s helpful to provide mental health days, access to counseling services, or stress management workshops.

FAQ

What is most helpful for employee mental health?

A few things are very helpful: training managers, supporting employees in recovering from relapses, making adjustments at work, being flexible, learning coping skills, and including mental health days in PTO. 

Who faces the highest risk of mental health problems at work?

People in environments characterized by excessive workloads, discrimination, and inequality face the highest risk. Around 20% of full-time employed women are likely to suffer from a common mental health issue, compared to 10.9% of men. 

Which are the most depressing careers? 

While no job is immune to depression, research has proven that social workers, first respondents, and disability lawyers have the most depressing jobs. 

What factors affect employee mental health adversely?

  • Under-use of skills or being under-skilled for work;
  • Long, unsocial, or inflexible hours;
  • Excessive workloads or work pace, understaffing;
  • Lack of control over job design or workload;
  • Organizational culture that enables negative behavior;
  • Unsafe or poor physical working conditions.

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