Most old-school bosses, CEOs or HR managers would argue that mental health is a private issue. It’s traditional to handle such matters with your doctor, or in the safe confines of home and with those closest to you, not at your place of work.
But the days of dealing with mental health the old fashioned way are no longer effective in creating happy, productive work environments. Mental health has become an issue not only worth addressing with a healthier mindset, but something we are being forced to approach in a different way.
According to Business Insider, Americans spend 90,000 hours at the workplace over the course of a lifetime. In addition, 87% of Americans have no passion for their jobs and 80% of people are completely dissatisfied in the workplace. And with a staggering 323 mass shootings in 2018, our attention is pulled toward our overall mental health status in America now, more than ever before.
With more businesses leading the way with mindful and empathetic methods, like LinkedIn chief executive Jeff Weiner, business owners’ ears are perking up. According to Smartcompany.com, Weiner values “health, love & time”. More specifically, Weiner sets aside 90 minutes of “buffer time” each day for processing, coaching or shifting gears, encouraging his employees to do the same in order to balance their workload and mental health in a more sustainable way.
Although it would convenient to have an on/off switch when it came to certain disorders, employees cannot simply pick out their anxiety or depression during work hours. When you have an employee, you get all of them, not just the productive parts.
Most importantly, how companies are developing skills in how to handle the mental/emotional health of its employees with safety and warmth is paramount. Managers need to be looking for the following changes in those they work with:
Mental illness is a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be a weakness. The first step is the understanding the mental and emotional patterns in individuals and using them to unleash your strengths — Using that sensitivity to empathize with employees or clients, or using your anxiety to be a more thoughtful, understanding boss will take a company very far. Acknowledging our mental & emotional health allows us to get to know ourselves, and our employees in a more authentic way and research shows that authenticity and the ability to be open at work leads to better performance, engagement, and overall wellbeing in it’s employees.