No job is free from the adverse outcomes of mental stress. Low- and high-risk jobs alike have their fair share of mental health issues, though high-risk jobs such as those that deal with violence and emergency response have more mental health claims from its employees. Mental health problems root from prolonged exposure to adverse stimuli. It can also be a result of different stressors acting upon an individual one on top of the other. The workplace bears a plethora of mental strain that if not controlled could result in unplanned absences, low productivity, poor work quality, and high staff turnover. According to Safe Work Australia, roughly $534 million is spent each year to compensate for work-related mental health issues, more specifically from long periods away from work. That’s a heap of cash for a preventable cause.
Unlike issues that are naturally occurring to the job like levels of demand and confrontation with life-threatening events, there are little adjustments you can make that can lead to long-term mental health benefits. Here a few factors listed by Safe Work Australia alongside some solutions we thought could limit their adverse effects:
Low role clarity. Role clarity is the degree to which employees understand their responsibilities and expected outcomes. Having full knowledge of these functions allow them to draw boundaries and reserve their energies to tasks relevant to their job. Low role clarity could lead them to answer to tasks not aligned with their competencies, overwhelm them with confusion, and derail their progress. As a resolve, you need to re-evaluate the job analysis and improve job induction programs.
Strained workplace relationships. A good sense of community enhances collaborative work. It keeps knowledge exchange constructive and encourages employees to freely express their concerns. If these relationships are strained, communication could be obstructed and results, comprised. Employees are also likely to emotionally suffer from disagreement. It’s cliché but… it only needs to be openly talked about. No work-related argument is irreparable to those who initiate a truce early on.
Poor environmental conditions. Is the workstation too crowded? Hot? Noisy? Are you giving enough break time? These are a few of the things you need to assess and regulate. Make long hours of work bearable for your employees by providing good facilities, protective equipment, and restorative break time— overall, a dignified working condition.
Harassment/bullying. Harassment and bullying come in many forms such as abusive language, assault, and power tripping, all of which are equally threatening and offensive. It gets in the way of individuals performing well if they ever brave coming to work after repeated incidents. The best way to quell harassment and bullying is through a systematic grievance system and a strict anti-harassment initiative, including an organisation-wide workshop or training.
It’s hard enough to make a living. Add in factors such as culture, leadership styles, pressure, and social friction, even the most manageable tasks can turn into a difficult weight to lift over time. Companies need to pay more attention to how workplace practices influence mental health and make small changes that effect big differences. Like the above mentioned cases, methods to relieve mental health issues aren’t as profound as you think— a bit tedious, yes, but it’s worth the long haul. If you think about it, you pay more to reconcile damages than to fulfill mental health initiatives.
What decision are you making today? Let us know. We are offering online WHS Committee, online WHS for Managers and Supervisors, online Workplace Bullying and Harassment training. If you would like to books us for onsite training contact us. We are happy to assist you with our onsite WHS Committee, onsite WHS for Managers and Supervisors, onsite Workplace Bullying and Harassment training.