“ALARMING” Mental Health Issues At Workplace

Anxiety, stress, and depression are three mental health issues that are on the rise and have an effect on people's lives in all spheres, but especially at work.

51% of Malaysian workers reported experiencing at least one aspect of work-related stress in 2019, and 53% reported obtaining less than seven hours of sleep per day, according to the 2019 Malaysia Healthiest Workplace by AIA Vitality survey. This indicates that Malaysian workers are becoming more and more overworked, and sleep deprived.

Why does workplace mental health matter?

Maintaining the mental well-being of employees is crucial to fostering a positive work atmosphere. This will have a favorable effect on the organization's productivity by reducing employee burnout, sick leave, and turnover.

What is the best way for an organization or leader to deal with the underlying problems?

  • Create a cultural support
    Normalizing discussions about mental health, lowering the stigma associated with mental illness, and bringing up problems as soon as possible. Employees will feel more engaged, in control, and at ease and focused about their work if they are involved in decision-making and communicated with openly and transparently.

  • Raise awareness of the signs
    Ascertain that all individuals are aware of the telltale signs of stress, anxiety, and burnout. Additionally, develop strategies to assist coworkers in identifying and handling issues.

  • Lead by example
    Establishing boundaries between work and home, managing stress, taking breaks, and leading a healthy lifestyle are all ways to demonstrate that you are taking care of your own mental health.

  • Reinforce a healthy work/life balance
    Ensure that every employee knows the difference between work and personal time. Establish "meeting-free" hours and times when you are expected to be offline during the workweek.

  • Holder smaller meetings more often
    Holding smaller or shorting meetings more regularly allows people to engage more often and feel that their contributions are valued. Included more one-to-one catch ups between managers and employees, and build social interaction into working hours, physically or virtually. Think coffee breaks, happy hours and social evenings to create positive emotional connections.

  • Measure mental health
    Regular conversations and anonymous surveys can support the monitoring of employees' mental health and well-being.

  • Training and development support
    Seminars, training, opportunities for mentorship, and upskilling will reassure people that their careers are on the right track and demonstrate the organization's concern for each team member.

  • Show recognition and gratitude
    Validation boosts a sense of belonging, which is now widely recognized as fundamental to mental health. Acknowledging individual contributions, rewarding success and showing gratitude will lead to greater self-esteem, and build feelings of connection to managers, co-workers and the business as a whole.

  • Encourage healthy habits
    Introducing a coupon for healthy food to encourage the adoption of good eating habits. Provide a healthy area where people can practice yoga, meditation, light exercise, and creative hobbies. In addition, "mental health days" could be implemented to motivate people to engage in outdoor activities.