How does the workplace environment affect employee mental health?
Work forms an essential part of your life and you spend a considerable amount of time in your workplace every day. It is not only your profession that influences the various aspects of your life but your working conditions also play a significant role in determining your quality of life.
Years ago, international and government agencies only used to talk about the physical health hazards that workers are susceptible to in their workplace. But with increasing awareness about mental health, people have started to realize how the work environment has a direct impact on the employees’ mental health.
Psychologists through their surveys and analysis found out the different ways in which a work environment influences a person’s mental health. Let us have a look at them to answer the bigger question that how workplaces can be designed in a healthy way.
1. Zero flexibility in job roles:-
When employees are caught in a job over which they have negligible control, they are more likely to feel stressed all the time. In such jobs, it feels like they have no say in what they are doing and are constantly dictated by somebody on how to perform. These jobs turn out to be very demanding and pressurizing, thus compelling the employees to prioritize work over their mental health. This eventually hampers their mental health negatively.
Jobs should have a significant degree of flexibility so that the employees can work according to their choice. This actually benefits the company itself by boosting the productivity of the employees and keeping them satisfied with their job.
2. Covert discrimination at the workplace:-
Discrimination in the workplace is something extremely serious. In most of the cases where it occurs, it is not always apparent. It unfolds in different forms such as:-
- Remarks loaded with discriminatory undertones
- Inequity, is unequal wages, opportunities, and treatment.
- Bias reflected during promotions
Such unjust and unfair practices in a workplace have a tremendous impact on employees’ mental health. They are disrespectful and degrading and push the employees who are facing discrimination in the margins. Another reason why this kind of discrimination is dangerous is that it can in no time turn into something physical.
It is imperative that the employers step in and take action to prevent injustices and promote a safe and inclusive work environment where despite the differences, the dignity of every individual is protected. These interventions can be in the form of different kinds of programs.
3. No bonding among individuals:-
Another important factor that has been found to positively affect the mental health of employees is when the workplace environment allows them to form bonds with other employees. This can be a great way in which employees can support each other in their growth and development.
But this does not happen in many workplaces. Toxic competition among employees has left no room left for building emotions and relationships. Instead, it undermines their mental health by constantly burying them under the stress of performing better than their colleagues.
The best way employers can foster relationships among employees is by encouraging collaboration and teamwork.
4. Gossips at the workplace:-
Employers often tend to ignore this factor, but a workplace where employees are engaged in gossip is certainly not healthy. Employees often start suffering from anxiety and even depression if they learn about rumors circulating about them. Put yourself in their shoes and you will understand the gravity of this problem.
Company policies should address this and immediate actions should be taken by employers against those who are crossing the limit and affecting someone’s mental peace.
Apart from these, workplace incivility has also been found as a factor negatively impacting the mental health of employees. This refers to repeated behaviors that disrespect and undervalue other employees.
It is the need of the hour that employers design their workplace with the thought of promoting the overall well-being of their employees as this will ultimately help in the success of their company.
Training programs should be organized with the aim to train employees on how to behave appropriately in the workplace. Raising awareness about the importance of mental health of the employees and organizing counseling sessions now and then will help a long way in developing a healthy and safe workplace environment.
Also read:- How online courses can boost your career
Author- Adesh Chaurasia
A superior and highly experienced entrepreneur in the field of business for quite a long time now. Also, a philanthropist, author and public speaker who believes in working towards the overall well being and betterment of the society as a whole.