It’s only logical… We perform better at work when we feel well, i.e. have more energy, think more clearly, therefore are more productive.
We are even more likely to be engaged in our work and response-able when we have the necessary resources and support to do our job well and JUST the right amount of pressure.
We each respond differently to types of pressure. Therefore, to get the most out of staff, managers can only benefit from getting to know the needs, motivations and stress-points within their team.
Managers have a pivotal role to play in tackling stress and promoting wellbeing in the workplace, and yet stress is now the leading cause of long-term absence from work. This leads to considerable business, human and social costs. Presenteeism (e.g. “here in body but not in spirit”) is reportedly even costlier.
Reluctance to disclose stress and/or mental health problems at work is a well-documented product of stigma (being labelled) and fear (of negative consequences).
As a result, disclosure often comes late at a crisis point or breakdown, and at a stage where the options are much more limited. The sooner an employee who is experiencing these can be supported the better, so identifying the issue early is key.
Disclosure more often happens in an open and trusting work environment where some value is placed on our wellbeing. This leads to early intervention i.e. many more options to work with staff constructively to;
1) identify, mitigate or remove workplace stresses
2) make work part of the solution, not the problem.
Put another way (and most of us have said it one time or another), “If only you had come to me earlier, I could have…”
Willingness to disclose is linked heavily with trust;
– That disclosing will not lead to being judged or “treated differently”
– That disclosure does not mean relinquishing control over what happens next. In other words, the manager is willing to work with employees not against them.
– That their manager has sufficient knowledge, skills and confidence to be able to respond supportively and practically, with a problem-resolving (adjusting) approach
When things are well-managed, the word travels and more staff are likely to disclose earlier if they feel the response will be supportive and constructive.
Most staff will more than repay the investment of understanding and practical support with loyalty and goodwill (going the extra mile) towards the employer.
Organisations that talk-the-talk and walk-the-walk get talked about in positive terms.
Work can be a protective factor from stress and distress, rather than a contributor.
And mentally healthy workplaces can both attract and retain the best of staff, who will in return demonstrate more commitment to their employer’s aims and objectives.
Plus, there is a substantial and growing body of evidence in support of these assertions.
It really is a no-brainer… So why have so few employers woken up to the issue?