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20 February 2019

Good mental health boosts performance

Mental health encompasses our emotional, psychological, and social well-being, all of which influence thoughts, feelings and actions.

Our mental health can also affect various social situations including decision making, interactions with others and dealing with stress.

Individuals’ mental health can change depending on any number of external experiences and pressures, including:

  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems

The importance of understanding and addressing mental health

As well as affecting people’s personal lives, well-being and morale, mental health issues also impact our work lives.

Positive mental health is commensurate with productivity, positivity and substantially beneficial and contributory to the workplace.

A recent Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development study highlighted the impact that mental ill health can have on organisations. Finding:

  • 37% of sufferers are more likely to get into conflict with colleagues
  • 57% find it harder to juggle multiple tasks
  • 80% find it difficult to concentrate
  • 62% take longer to do tasks
  • 50% are potentially less patient with customers/clients.

Statistics taken from the Mental Health Foundation found that one in four people in the UK will experience some kind of mental health problem over the course of the year.

Promoting positive mental health in the workplace

Promoting positive mental health in your workplace can be hugely beneficial. Employees are more likely to perform, have good attendance levels and be engaged in their work. It is important for employers to acknowledge that the workplace can also cause stress and worry due to persistent pressures, unclear responsibilities or a poor working environment.

Managing staff experiencing mental ill health

Managers should be confident in supporting staff experiencing mental ill health. It is important that they are able to spot the signs of mental ill health, know how to approach conversations sensitively and how they can support staff. The earlier a manager becomes aware that a team member is struggling; the sooner they can receive the support needed.

Dealing with stress in the workplace

Changing an employers approach to work related stress can not only benefit the employees, but it can benefit the business, reducing absence levels and improving overall performance. Employers also have a legal obligation to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees.

Organisations should be thinking about their business and what areas could be causing stress for employees. It should then be considered how to reduce these issues in their workplace and how best to support staff when they do experience stress.

According to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive), in 2015/16 over 480,000 people in the UK reported that work-related stress was making them ill. This amounts to nearly 40% of all work-related illness. If 40% of a workforce is not performing to their best potential and is suffering will ill mental health, this can cause a substantial knock on effect to an organisation.

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