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HR WhatNow: Workplace mental issues

Mental health. It is something that people who don’t experience it will tend to overlook and those that do finds themselves in a spiraling down situation.

A study conducted by Singapore Mental Health between 2016 – 2018 found that 1 in 7 people in Singapore have experienced a mental disorder in their lifetime. When referenced to another international study, it suggests that work stress was one of the main factor associated with mental health.

Work stress can come from many factors which consist of; work scope, working conditions, participation, workload, pace and work schedule. Other factors also consist of organisational culture, interpersonal relationships at work.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, default arrangements such as work-from-home and split team arrangements has lead to drastic changes to work content and work context which will contribute to more stress for employees.

Today’s article sets out highlight some measures that employers, leaders and peers can adopt to support the people in their work environment.

Organisation level

Depending on the company’s available resources and HR policies, it should adopt suitable recommendations that would work best in their context.

Managers

As managers, they play a crucial role in the mental health of the employees as they are the first point of contact between the staffs and the company’s management. There are several areas that they should look out for;

Absentism & Medical Leaves

When it is mental health-related leaves, the longer a person is away from the organization, the less likely they are to eventually return.

Early appropriate contact and follow ups can facilitate higher return rates of the employees. Sometimes, a progressive return to work can be more suitable, with the staff starting to work a few hours a day and gradually building normal contract hours.

Performance management and appraisal

It is good management practice to conduct regular meetings and private (but confidential) supervision sessions. Such engagement sessions are good to understand the condition of the staff.

A subtle, including significant, drop in performance is the signal that a staff member might be experiencing distress or disassociation from their work.

Unacceptable behaviour and poor performance needs to be addressed directly on its demerits, but fear can stop an employee from disclosing a mental health concern until it becomes late in the scrutiny.

Saying that, it is not to stop employers to stop using disciplinary or competence policies, because the staff is facing mental health issues, rather those polices should anticipate and factor those conditions in.

During the consideration of a disciplinary action, it is prudent to keep an open mind and bear in mind if a mental health concern could be part of the reason.

For Self

Workplace mental issues starts with the employees themselves first before external parties can step in. The person in subject should look for a few areas that they feel they could work on. These can be goals and work aspirations. Other proactive methods include;

  1. Talking about your feelings

Talking about your feelings can help maintain a healthier mental condition. While it can be hard to talk about feelings at work, it you have a close colleagues you can talk to, or a manager who is active in engagement, you should use the chance to voice out.

  1. Maintain physical activity

Regular exercise can boost self-esteem and help concentration, sleep and self image.

In this context we do not mean exercising only to doing sport or going to the gym once a week or two weeks. Rather, try to find an enjoyable and sustainable activity that you can do 4-5 times a week; walking, cycling etc.

  1. Food

Our food can affect how we feel both immediately and in the long term. A diet that is good for your body is also good for your mental health.

For Peers

We have to mindful that people with mental health problems are not very distant away from us. They could be the colleague that sits across from you and is struggling with it.

It will be good to check in with closer colleagues informally to see how they are doing at work, and, if there is a chance, to offer them the chance to talk about it over coffe.

Asking questions and offering direct help will help your colleague feel more ease to share their condition.

ABOUT ENABLE CONSULTING

Established in 2013, enable Consulting is a specialised hr consulting firm.

We believe that having a strong and robust HR function is a key driver for continuous growth in any successful business. It is on this belief that we have built many successful partnerships with clients across different industries.

We are a people business and it is our talent pool that defines us. Each and every one of our consultants is highly professional with many years of experience in HR management consulting and services.

Our Consultants are PMC certified to further be able to help local SMEs improve and optimise their HR operational efficiency through Singapore Grants. enable is about offering affordable, high value adding solutions to improve business performance; while at the same time nurturing and inspiring a fair and respectful working environment. But above all, enable is about enabling you.

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