Workplace Mental Health #AtoZChallenge
Remember the first day at your new job? The new workplace? The new people? The boss? Do you remember the nervousness you felt? The anxiousness? The heart thumping? Did you feel like a school child again?
This is something pretty common for when someone goes to their workplace for the first time. This is seen as a first step toward financial independence after so many years of education and dependence on parents. It starts as a dream for almost everyone but unfortunately, it soon becomes a nightmare.
Workplace Mental Health.
In the US itself, it is estimated that there is an annual loss of nearly $1 trillion due to productivity lost from mental illnesses. The corporate workplace is something more of a grinder for every one employed. The deadlines and expectations are unrealistic. Office politics and sexual harassment are abundant. The cheap price put up for a human being is something that many would consider inhumane. People are not looked at as respectable employees but as contracted robots who will do anything if given the right price.
Employee Mental Health.
An average employee is at the highest risk of suffering from a mental illness. The chances of them being depressed or anxious are higher than even the clerks and peons that work in an office. They have next to no power in their hand and have to agree with everything their bosses tell them. Their opinion is not valued. They are supposed to work like donkeys and they are made to work long hours. They are at the lowest level of the Pyramid of Screaming. All of this is incentivized with offers of more money or a scope of a promotion. The job may not fulfill their expectations or they may feel anonymous in the crowd. The fear of being fired in case their productivity drops or they end up becoming a liability makes people wary of approaching someone for help.
These employees often choose alcohol and cigarettes to cope with their problems, which only offers a temporary distraction. In India, 50% employees have complained of anxiety. The presence of an HR department to deal with employee stress has little to no effect. In 2008, the number of people at risk of suicide in India was 2.1 out of 10. This number rose to an astonishing 8.21 out of 10 by July 2016.
Entrepreneur Mental Health.
People who decide to leave their corporate jobs in favor of a start up of their own also suffer from mental health issues. Start ups are a roller coaster ride and there is always a looming fear of failure for everyone involved. The challenge of having to go up against the big companies makes many start ups give up before they get started. The stakes for an entrepreneur are too high, the reasons to give up uncountable and the chances of success slim. This often leads to battles with depression, if the venture fails and anxiety if the venture seems to be wobbling.
One of the many solutions would be to have a more open and inclusive workplace but that is far easier said than done. The strengthening of the HR department is another step that can be taken. The objective of a healthy workplace is also sort of impractical in a corporate job. The companies only work for their profit and if you go up to them, sharing your problem, it would be easier (and cheaper) to replace you than help. There is absolutely no reason why a company should give you more importance than its own goals. This leads to a need for legislation that protects the rights of an employee and makes sure that they can’t be fired over an illness. They may be given some time off but a suspension would be cruel and inhumane. The human resource is the ultimate resource that every company has and the success of a company can be measured by how happy its lowest employees are.