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Mental Health at Work

October is Mental Health Awareness Month, the perfect time to take a closer look at mental health in the workplace and how we can promote this. While working is good for our mental health, the wrong work environment and amount or type of work can negatively impact us. We take a closer look below.

The impact of work environments on your mental health

A harmful or toxic working environment can not only lead to depression and anxiety, but it also has an economic impact due to decreased productivity. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the estimated cost to the global economy is US$ 1 trillion per year in lost productivity. That’s a significant number! Some of the most reported issues are bullying and harassment.

On the flip side, having a positive, nurturing work environment can really do wonders for employees. According to Talent Works, happy employees are 31% more productive and take 10x fewer sick days than unhappy employees. Happy employees are also more likely to stick with a company for a more extended time, which means a decrease in employee turnover.

Red flags in the Workplace

Identifying risks to mental health in your work environment can help you change the negatives to positives. Here are some risks to look out for:
– Poor communication and management practices
– Inflexible working hours
– A low level of support for employees
– Low control over one’s area of work
– Unclear tasks or organizational objectives
– An unrelenting workload for employees
– Psychological harassment or bullying within the workplace

Businesses can make the necessary changes by identifying risk areas and providing a positive working environment for all their employees. It is also essential to allow your employees to report valid concerns about what they feel are risks to their mental health in your workplace without being punished or discriminated against. 

Creating a Positive Work Environment

Often, business owners or managers feel that employee mental health is not their problem, but this isn’t entirely true! Helping employees improve their mental health, and creating a work environment that supports this, is one of the most important steps an employer can take for their team and their organization’s success. Here are some ways to create a positive environment for mental health in your workplace:

Openly discuss mental health with your employees, and make sure team leaders and managers are educated in spotting the signs of mental health problems

Reduce the stigma about mental health issues. If your employees trust that you won’t think they are crazy or overreacting, they are more likely to speak up and receive help when they need it

Promote a healthy work/life balance. The pandemic changed many things about the workplace, including where employees are working from. Regardless of whether your team are in the office, working from home, or on a hybrid model, making sure they maintain a healthy work/life balance is so important

Make wellness a priority and help employees develop healthy habits. You can host wellness days at the office regularly, as well as team exercise and meditation sessions. Make sure you’re adding real value here as opposed to just trying to be seen to be doing something

Encourage peer support and mentoring to allow your team to support one another outside the management line. Sometimes people find it easier to speak up to people who aren’t their managers, and this allows them a safe space to do that

At Iridium…

We regard good mental health as an ongoing priority. Apart from ensuring that our office plants and fish stay alive, we have a few things in place to ensure our team members practice good mental wellbeing, such as

Wellness Leave, Unique to Iridium, replacing the traditional sick leave policy and how it’s administered. This allows for the team member to take time off, no questions asked.

Flexi Hours and WFH. It’s no secret that a day or two WFH allows you to smash out that admin and feel like you are on top of things. We WFH at least 2 days per week. Our Flexi Hour policy also allows for that much-needed flexibility, so whether a team member wants to have an early morning gym sesh or simply dodge traffic we have got them covered.

We completed our journey with Credo growth in July and learned more about how to show up in our different roles and create better balances within our team.

We recently started internal journeys with Strove and Mygrow. With the team having unfiltered access to these platforms, we enable ourselves to continually grow and develop both physically and mentally in our health journeys.

Support on an individual level by scoping our team members' capacity before taking on new clients, allows for a proactive approach to any problems that may affect the team. We also commit to supporting the individual in their journey to improve in any way they need to.

Use the month of October to raise awareness about Mental Health at work and start planning some ways in which you want to improve your working environment. Today is the perfect time to start making a difference!

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