You’re always on my mind — why mental health starts at work

Young female worker sat at her laptop with her head in her hands.

Mental health at work — recognising there’s a problem

  • Offer flexibility with working hours — doing so means that if there is anything going on outside of work, employees who are struggling may be able to balance things a little more easily.
  • Allow workers time for legal advice, medical appointments and counselling — better still, why not offer therapy at work? This is something one of our clients is doing (we’ve written more about this and managing mental health from afar here).
  • Promote mental health at work — sounds obvious but if we’re going to beat the stigma, employers need to lead by example. So open up and talk about mental health within teams. Because if starting the conversation’s the hardest part, why not start it yourself?
  • Keep in touch with remote workers — another no-brainer really, but still essential. And it’s extra-important to be mindful of workers who are alone at home. Just think about all those impromptu moments of communication we miss out on when working remotely. This is especially hard for anyone who got the majority of their social connections from the office.

Start by being mindful of the signs

  • social withdrawal
  • a persistent drop in mood
  • disinterest in maintaining personal hygiene or appearance
  • uncharacteristically reckless behaviour
  • poor diet changes, rapid weight changes
  • being distracted
  • anger
  • insomnia
  • alcohol or drug abuse
  • giving away sentimental or expensive possessions
  • hopelessness
  • failing to see a future
  • believing they are a burden to others
  • saying they feel worthless or alone
  • talking about their death or wanting to die.

Addressing the remote elephant in the room

Supporting employees properly before they burnout

  • Low self-esteem
  • High self-expectations
  • Perfectionism
  • Difficulty prioritizing tasks
  • Extensive responsibilities outside of work
  • Difficulty delegating responsibility
  • A focus on work at the expense of other areas of life (personal growth, activities with family and friends )
  • Difficulty respecting your limits when overworked (accepting all work assigned, bringing work home, etc.).

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Andy Baker

Andy Baker

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Friendly neighbourhood copy chameleon. Whatever the tone, I’ve got you.