Brought to you by nscience:
In the past, mental health support in the workplace has often been minimal at best. With a lack of understanding regarding mental health disorders, compounded by negative stigma, employers have not always understood how best to support workers in their employment.
Fortunately, the mental health movement in the workplace has begun to flourish in recent years. With the typical working week often exceeding 40 hours, the workplace has become absolutely central to the positive health and wellbeing of our general population. Employers are beginning to recognize this, little by little.
And so now, we can accurately predict just how mental health support will develop in the workplace – and most importantly, how these new developments are set to benefit our people and societies.
A New, Understanding Company Culture
A sense of company culture has always ruled the workplace. But more often than not, this culture was historically rooted in a constant ‘grind’ mentality: working overtime, doing more than one’s job role requires, seeking promotion after promotion.
Unfortunately, this particular company culture can do more harm than good. Employers must strive to foster a culture in which seeking mental health support is encouraged, and in fact, is seen as a sign of strength. The more content and healthy your workers are, the more productivity and profit you can gain from their work.
We can see this change in company culture happening as we speak with the rising normalization of mental health support arrangements at work. Note the much-needed push towards diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Changes to the Working Week
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has made many employers reflective, particularly with regard to the structure of their working weeks. Working from home has increased tenfold, and we’ve come to see an initiative towards four day work weeks among well-known companies such as Panasonic.
More and more British residents want more flexibility from their employer to improve their work-life balance, and this seems to be a promising development in mental health support at the workplace.
A 9-5, five-days-a-week job is not the right fit for everyone, and can run the risk of mental, physical, emotional burnout. By altering this, employers can help secure a loyal, committed, healthy, and productive workforce.
More Disclosure, More Support
Companies, in decades past, often discouraged the disclosure of mental health concerns at work. Believed to be separate to the workplace, and therefore not belonging there, mental health challenges were liable to be ‘brushed under the rug’. In the coming years (and even now!) we are sure to see more disclosure about mental health issues – and thus, more support available – in the workplace.
And that’s a great thing. The more we talk, the more stigma is reduced, and the more willing an employer will be to make the necessary accommodations for their staff’s mental health. Whether these accommodations involve altered responsibilities, additional support from coworkers, or leaves of absence, there are new ways in which support for employees is gradually becoming more accessible.
Healthier Working Relationships with Deeper Connections Between Employer and Employee
Although we’ve addressed developments to be expected within company culture, what about more personal working relationships? In the future, we can expect deeper connections between employer and employee.
Employers are taking regular mental health check-ins seriously and are striving towards healthier team dynamics. Making time for a question as simple as, “How are you?” is something that should have always been present in the workplace, but is becoming far more notable now.
Organization-wide opportunities to connect with one’s peers are also a viable form of mental health support. Direct reports, discussions, meetings, and events between managers and colleagues allow employees to keep a keen eye on their mental health and ensure they are supported as and when required. “How are you?” is great, but “How can I help?” is even better.
Mental Health Support Development in the Workplace Will Continue
Mental health support will develop in the workplace as long as we retain a sense of empathy, understanding, and authenticity. To struggle is to be human, and employees should no longer be expected to be ‘working machines’.
Fortunately, we can see changes in the ‘here and now’ to policies and training in workplaces across the country. These developments should only grow, until we achieve sustainable culture change within the workplace.
Evolving policies about mental health in the workplace are often the result of informed research from professionals, themselves. If you want to enact change in the workplace and are looking to work toward improved mental health support across all industries, nscience offer therapist training across the UK. Embarking on a career in therapy – as a therapist yourself – affords you the opportunity to help hundreds, even thousands, of those struggling in the workplace! Change begins here, with you.