Workplace mental health: the impact on productivity and performance
Much like our physical health, without care and attention our mental health can deteriorate. Here we explore the impact that can have in the workplace.2 min read Published: 1 Dec 2023
Our mental health plays a crucial role in our overall well-being; and just like our physical health, it can fluctuate from time to time.
When our mental health is compromised, it can significantly impact our mood, thinking, and behaviour, affecting our ability to function effectively in both personal and professional settings.
In the workplace, mental health issues can have a direct and detrimental impact on productivity and performance. For example, employees struggling with mental health conditions may experience challenges with:
- Concentration and focus: Difficulty staying focused on tasks, easily distracted, and prone to losing track of important details.
- Information processing: Slower information processing speed, making it difficult to grasp new concepts and complete tasks efficiently.
- Decision-making: Impaired judgement and decision-making abilities, leading to poor choices and potential negative consequences.
- Problem-solving: Difficulty identifying problems, formulating solutions, and implementing effective strategies.
- Time management: Struggling to prioritise tasks, meet deadlines, and manage workload effectively.
- Communication: Difficulty expressing thoughts clearly, engaging in constructive conversations, and building strong relationships with colleagues.
- Motivation and drive: Reduced motivation, feeling overwhelmed, and lacking the energy to tackle work challenges.
These cognitive and behavioural challenges can have a significant impact on an employee's productivity and overall contribution to the workplace.
Absenteeism and presenteeism (being physically present but not fully productive) can lead to increased costs for employers and decreased productivity for teams.
Supporting mental health in the workplace
Employers can play a crucial role in promoting mental health awareness and support in the workplace:
- Create a Supportive Work Environment: Foster an open and supportive environment where employees feel comfortable discussing mental health concerns.
- Provide Mental Health Resources: Offer access to employee assistance programs, mental health professionals, and stress management workshops.
- Promote Work-Life Balance: Encourage employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance to prevent burnout and mental health issues.
- Educate and Train Managers: Equip managers with the knowledge and skills to recognize and support employees struggling with mental health concerns.
- Encourage Open Communication: Foster a culture of open communication where employees feel safe to express their concerns and seek help.
By prioritising mental health in the workplace, employers can create a healthier, more productive, and more supportive environment for all employees. It’s also important for employers to be aware of what support employees are entitled to.
The Access to Work scheme provides financial support to help people start or stay in work. This scheme can be a valuable resource for employers and employees alike, as it can help to cover the costs of support to help employees with mental health conditions overcome their barriers to work.
The Access to Work scheme can help to level the playing field for employees who need support with mental health conditions and enable them to thrive in the workplace.
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