World Mental Health Day: Experts highlight 5 barriers to creating a stress-free workplace
Work is not merely financial stability. Instead, it offers a sense of purpose, achievement, social interaction, and confidence. However, it can also cause significant stress, posing a risk to mental health and well-being. A recent study revealed that five in 10 employees faced depression, emotional or anxiety-related symptoms at the workplace.
That’s why, it’s crucial to understand that mental health is not a destination, but a process. Maintaining positive mental health and treating any mental illness is critical for restoring constructive behaviours, emotions, and thoughts. But the question remains, what are the factors that challenge them? Neha Tripathi, Tapan Pandit and Bhuvaneswar Naik outlined five barriers that keep leaders from running a stress-free workplace:
Dearth of gratitude
We all want to work in a place where people are polite, considerate, kind, and express appreciation. The absence of gratitude can lead to people feeling less grateful. Neha Tripathi, HR head of Codestore Technologies, suggested leaders to “Implement a gratitude culture at the company where employees are appreciated for the effort they put into the company. After all, job dissatisfaction, turnover, absenteeism, and burnout can be a result of lack of gratitude.”
Blurred work-life balance
Blame it on smartphones or the pandemic, we know most of us, remain connected to work 24/7. It creates the inevitable dilemma around when exactly work time begins and ends. This blurring of boundaries creates considerable challenges for employees, leading to mental illness. To remedy the situation, leaders can restrict work systems outside of office hours. Most importantly, honest and candid discussions between managers and employees about their work-life balance can work well for all parties. The key is to recognise that you can establish an open working environment so that every employee can express themselves and voice their opinions for a happier workplace.
No mental health sessions
Head HR at Codestore Technologies believes that regular discussions and sessions on mental well-being with the employees allow the leaders to understand what their team members are worried about. Such sessions can unearth major problems like discrimination, inequality, excessive workloads, low job control or job insecurity. “There should be sessions where everyone can discuss the difficulties they face. As a leader, you must make your team understand that you’re there to clarify and help with what is bothering them. Focus on a solution-oriented approach. It can be an effective way to combat exhaustion and depression,” said Neha Tripathi
Ignoring the social anxiety and nervousness of employees
The pandemic was a time that changed everything in the blink of an eye. It drastically impacted the personal as well as professional life of every single person. However, on a positive note, now more than ever, employees have started talking about their mental health issues. Yet, we are far from achieving a stress-free workplace. One of the main reasons behind the same can be “ignoring social anxiety and nervousness as employees return to office”, said Tapan Pandit, HR head, IndiaLends.
“While many are talking about work-life balance, increased work pressure etc, it’s also crucial to remember the huge impact of - fear of attending business social events, problems developing relationships with coworkers, lack of self-confidence and difficulty speaking up in meetings can have on talents. It’s the responsibility of an employer to provide a safe, secure and healthy working space. The significance of good work culture should be stressed to create a value-based organisation,” he said.
Lack of training in managers
While different models are helping teams reconnect and bond after two years of remote work, adapting to the new form of work-life is causing stress, especially for managers. The strain further amplifies as managers lack training and later become uninspired, dissatisfied, or even experience burnout. Bhuvaneswar Naik, CHRO at Lentra recommended, “Building a holistic wellbeing program that addresses mental fitness while also providing thorough training. Even leaders are allowed to struggle, and only when they learn to deal with fatigue, they can be fully ready to not discount their anxiety, depression, or exhaustion.”