Mental Health at Work
The Harvard Business Review recently published a research study on stressors affecting the mental health of employees, People Want Their Employers to Talk About Mental Health, K. Greenwood, et al. Prior to the pandemic, the focus to address mental health at work included reducing the stigma of talking about existing mental health conditions. Increasingly, since the pandemic began, the focus has shifted to the company’s role in everyone’s mental health.
Several factors had an impact on mental health including:
Emotionally draining work
Work life balance
Poor communication practices
Lack of connection
Employers have offered accommodations increasingly throughout the pandemic, including more flexibility of more frequent or extended breaks for therapy appointments. What was interesting, is that utilization of accommodations including time off and leaves of absence saw no change from 2019, noting employees did not utilize what was offered to them. 31% of respondents reported they most desired a more open culture around mental health. This begs the question, how can this be achieved?
When organizational culture is talked about, the norm and comfort level of leaders and consultants alike, it is to talk about cognitions, and what is physically seen. Due to the research of Wharton’s Sigal G. Barsade, and others, we are beginning to recognize the workforce as emotional beings. How can there be a culture shift to acknowledge the role of mental health at work? Those who lead are now required to think about the mental health of their teams.
Now more than ever, listening skills are essential, as well as coaching with empathy. Historically, those trained in behavioral sciences have been trained with these skills. For success in leadership for the 21st Century, it is necessary for leaders to upskill to be able to facilitate educated conversations about mental health.
Subscribe to Life Skills for Leadership: alexia.substack.com
Originally published at https://alexia.substack.com on April 10, 2022.