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Recent studies show that 83% of workers in the US suffer from some form of work-related stress and 76% of those workers state that their work-related stress bleeds into their personal life and relationships. The reality is that the majority of us deal with feelings of stress, anxiety, imposter syndrome, and uncertainty when it comes to our professional lives. That being said, the time to normalize and encourage mental health talks in the workplace is now. To help end the stigma around mental health in the workplace, our experts have gathered the latest information to help you and your employees start the conversation.
We often hear about mental health struggles and imbalances that stem from events or triggers in our personal lives but seldom hear about them in relation to our professional lives. Job-related mental health is alive and well in the United States and abroad, and it's time we talk about it.
So, what is job-related mental health? Our state of social, psychological, and emotional well-being is just as vulnerable at work as it is at home. When a person is experiencing job-related mental health triggers and has no outlet available to them these overwhelming feelings can root into our personas and carry into all aspects of our lives. Some of the most common causes of job-related mental health struggles or triggers include:
A hostile relationship with a coworker or an overall hostile environment.
Lack of support from managers and team leaders.
Too high of expectations from managers or team leaders.
Being under constant pressure to over-perform or produce past a person's natural ability.
Lack of learning and development for new projects or products.
Poor communication between team members and managers or team leaders.
The expectation is that an employee's only purpose is to work and not to have a life outside of the office.
Inadequate or out-of-date benefits.
Lack of a healthy work/life balance.
Once a person has succumbed to these triggers and their mental health is slipping a number of job-related risks seep in. Here are some of the common risks that come with it:
Weakened job productivity and performance
Loss of engagement between employees and their work and managers
Change in the daily functioning of individuals and teams
Longer turnaround times or missed deadlines
Job burnout is a serious situation and should not be taken lightly by managers, team leaders, or workers. A person experiencing job burnout has reached a high level of work-related stress leading to a severe drop in productivity, motivation, and a loss of personal and professional identity. Job burnout can make a person feel useless, lost, and uncertain about themselves and their career.
Here are some common symptoms of Job Burnout:
Becoming cynical or critical at work.
Having to force yourself into getting to work or getting started with your tasks.
Becoming irritable or impatient with co-workers and other people your job deals with.
Lacking energy, purpose, satisfaction, or concentration
Lack of sleep, increasing headaches, & other physical symptoms
Now that we know the seriousness and the signs, what can we do to help ourselves and others out of job burnout?
The best way to get yourself out of a tough spot is to evaluate the leading factors of your stress and what you or your job can do to help alleviate or eliminate them. Bring up your specific concerns to a manager or team leader and assess what can be done to get you out of burnout and back to thriving in the workplace.
While expressing our feelings and frustrations can make us feel vulnerable and exposed, the best way to get through it is to get it out. Whether it be a friend, family member, coworker, or therapist, find who you feel most comfortable with and explain to them what you’re going through. Remember not to minimize any of your feelings. Your situation is valid and the way you feel is true.
Exercise raises endorphins and acts as a great relief of stress for many people. Take a walk, do some stretching, go to the gym, or take a workout class to help get your body moving and your mind focused on something other than your situation. For exercising your mind, try practicing mindfulness. Take a moment to close your eyes and focus on nothing but your own breathing. Take slow and deliberate breaths and take in the sounds of the world around you. Remember to take life one step at a time.
The term “Quiet Quitting” was coined in 2022 to describe the act of doing your job as stated in your job description and setting boundaries so that it does not take over your entire life. As the job force is further taken over by Millenials and Gen Z, the idea that your job is just that, a job, and not your entire life is becoming more normalized.
Quiet quitting is a way to cut down on job-related stress and create a better work/life balance. This solution often comes after one experiences job burnout and can only be completed by taking direct action to change your situation. Some examples of small changes people practicing quiet quitting make include time blocking their work day to avoid burning themselves out on one project or task, taking more breaks, and even shutting off phones and computers for a certain period of time.
The important thing to keep in mind when it comes to using quiet quitting as a coping mechanism at work is to be mindful of what your job is and what your limits are. Quiet quitting only works successfully when a person’s tasks are still completed and production doesn’t fall. Learn to set boundaries that allow you to regain control of your life and mental health while simultaneously improving your work ethic.
What are some ways besides quiet quitting that employees and employers can care for mental health at work?
Employers can promote mental health awareness. The first thing an employer can do to protect the mental health of the company overall is to promote mental health awareness and provide options for anyone struggling to manage stress and other job-related mental health symptoms. Make employees aware of the resources available to them and make them feel comfortable discussing their mental health with their team leaders and managers.
At Integrant, we take great responsibility for supporting our employee's emotional well-being at work and at home. One way we accomplish this is by providing access to mental health resources for all of our employees. For example, our Egypt employees have the option of connecting with an online therapist via 07 Therapy with 80% of the cost subsidized by us. We also openly encourage all employees to discuss their emotional and physical well-being with team leads and management. All of our management-level employees are instructed to lead with empathy and consideration for each team member's personal and professional needs, making it easier for employees to start the conversation about mental health at work.
Here are some more examples of programs and ideas employers can use to adequately prompt mental health awareness:
Share mental health self-assessment tools.
Offer health insurance that covers mental health services.
Provide emails, brochures, or community boards that educate employees about the signs and symptoms of poor mental health.
If your work is in-person, provide dedicated quiet spaces for breaks and relaxation. If working remotely, encourage employees to unplug when necessary.
Train managers and team leaders in detecting the early signs and symptoms of poor mental health and equip them with the tools to help employees work through it.
If you’re experiencing feelings of uneasiness, stress, anxiety, or imposter syndrome at work, you are not alone. A large amount of the US and global workforce experience a form of negative job-related mental health. The best way to combat this reality is by coming together to create programs, opportunities, and discussions that will bring these experiences to light and help lower or eliminate them altogether. If you are currently struggling with any form of job-related stress or other mental health struggles, we encourage you to seek the help and support you deserve.
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