Workplace Mental Health #AtoZChallenge

Published by knightofsteel on

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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.

Solutions.

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.


8 Comments

syncwithdeep · April 26, 2018 at 12:24 AM

this is so true. retrenchment from corporate jobs is also one of the causes for mental illness. the experienced after 40 are thrown out to replace with the fresh graduates who can put in more energy and raise the profit and shares of the company. W is We Shall Overcome. syncwithdeep.wordpress.com/2018/04/26/w-we-shall-overcome-blogchattera2z-atozchallenge-atoz/

Akshata Ram · April 26, 2018 at 4:01 AM

I read an article somewhere that an employee sent a mail that she wanted a day off for her mental health recovery. While this would have been scoffed at in most cases, the CEO took time to reply and thank her for taking this time off as mental health is really important and if something at the workplace is making her stressed, she needs a break. I don’t know if this is a true story but it sure is a good direction to go in

    knightofsteel · April 26, 2018 at 8:13 AM

    It was a true story but something disappointing emerged later on in other companies. Some companies had a mental health leave but people misused them for a long weekend and they were ultimately scrapped.

Ashwini Menon (@Ashwini_Menon) · April 26, 2018 at 11:15 AM

Its such an important post. I suffered from major fatigue and a panic attack recently. It was so bad that I was forced to quit work. I had been working 12 hours days for years. My ambitions and commitment had crossed all limits. And I neglected my health. I still think I was lucky that I was able to take a break. Most can’t. I shudder to think what would have happened if I had no option and had to continue!
Thanks for this post.

Nupur Maskara (@nuttynupur) · April 27, 2018 at 1:26 AM

Yes, I remember early in my career I was doing something that was not using my potential and I got depressed. The minute my role changed, I was happy! I think we need to push and understand ourselves so that we are not square pegs in round holes. Work being so important, we must make an effort to be happy there.

    knightofsteel · April 28, 2018 at 3:16 AM

    Indeed. Too often we confuse work with life and end up doing something wrong don’t like. The moment ee do that, it stops being a career and becomes a punishment.

An@m! · April 27, 2018 at 3:51 AM

Can’ agree more. A healthy mental state reflects in your work as well. I remembered once my boss asking ” Anami, you never did such mistakes. Is everything alright ??” Well it was a personal problem though but it got reflected at my workplace. And vice versa also applies. One should be happy at workplace.

    knightofsteel · April 28, 2018 at 3:15 AM

    Our mental state does affect our output. It could decrease the efficiency or efficacy of our work. It’s nice to k ow your boss asked you instead of lashing out. I think that’s rare in the corporate world.

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