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#Mental Stress

Don’t ignore, discuss mental stress and distress at workplace

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Ankur Gautam - General Manager- Human Resources at KDS Services Private Ltd.

13-Sep-2021

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Mental health issues should not be treated lightly. Mental health concerns have an impact on both work and personal life. Long working hours, an excessive workload, tight deadlines, job insecurity, and workplace abuses, among other things, may have a negative influence.

During the pandemic, mental stress and distress have risen, and we are all affected in some manner. Psychological health is an important aspect of our lives that most of us disregard. We all take mental stress and anxiety for granted, and astonishingly, no one at home or work takes them seriously until we have a serious issue.

There has been an increase in stress and anxiety among people since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, says a new study. The study surveyed over 10,000 Indians to understand how they have been coping with the new normal. Conducted by Delhi-based The Center of Healing (TCOH), a preventive healthcare platform, the study noted that stress and anxiety levels have been on the rise with 74 per cent and 88 per cent Indians suffering from stress and anxiety respectively.

To begin with, we need to understand symptoms of mental stress and distress we experience usually but ignore. There could be physical signs and non-physical as mentioned below:

Physical signs could be; Whether it's chest pain or a pounding heart, you'll be frazzled, nausea, diarrhoea, or indigestion more recurrent colds muscle pain, pains, trouble having sex, headaches, fast, weak immune, shallow breathing and excessive sweating are common symptoms, as is a loss of appetite or a change in appetite, pregnancy-related issues, and sleeping issues.

Non-physicals signs are like indecisive thinking, always think and talk negatively, memory issues, sleeping too much or trouble sleeping, making bad decisions,eating too much or often, excessive worry for small things even, lost mind, losing confidence and being irritable.

Every job entails some level of stress; sometimes it is reasonable, but when it occurs regularly, it becomes a serious issue.If you are experiencing any of these signs, it is important to assess your lifestyle and make changes to restore happiness to your life.

Amid pandemics, an organization can implement the following practices to make a better workplace experience for their workforce.

Making mental health a priority

To educate all levels of the organization about mental health and complications related to it. Bring awareness tothe employee through digital media or conducting online sessions by a specialist or someone who has a good understanding of the subject to train people. This session will help the employee to discuss their problem freely.Most employers avoid such practices considering this unnecessary cost to the company and because of their apathetic approach. Leaders must recognize the importance of mental health as a genuine indicator of success. There is a phrase मन के हारे हार है, मन के जीते जीत that helps us in appreciating the importance and necessity for mental wellbeing in the workplace. A calm and cheerful mind may assist a company in attaining organizational goals while also reducing turnover. According to the report of ADP, seven in 10 Indian workers (70 per cent) said that they were experiencing stress at least once during the working week regularly.

Establishing honest leadership

Employee morale will be boosted, and it will also be a motivating element if honest leadership is established. Effective leadership allows employees to connect with their leader and they can comfortably express their concerns and opinions, resulting in increased mental happiness at work. Every stressful situation becomes a brainstorming session due to the leader's positive attitude.

Proper task distribution

A leader must set a realistic time restriction for their employees to complete their given tasks. Tasks should be properlywritten, and resources should be easily available so that employees can complete tasks on time and acquire a sense of performance satisfaction. Employees will gain confidence and mental fortitude as a result of this satisfaction. When tasks are distributed properly, everyone understands their responsibilities, which lowers the likelihood of internal conflict and heated debate.

Focus on talent development

The organization must develop a culture where two-way communication can be done. Two-way communication always reduces the chance of conflict at any level. Two-way communication fosters a sense of belonging, acknowledges diverse points of view, and encourages employees to participate in organizational activities.

Work-life balance

The significance of work-life balance must be recognized, and employees must be given the chance to balance the demands of the job, family, and personal life. Amid pandemics, the workload has increased, and it is assumed by the leader that employee working from home is always available to perform any task. It is high time to change the mindset and approach as it builds undue pressure onthe employee. We are humans and we need time to be socialized and to spend with our family. Long working hours are affecting employee’s personal life badly. In lack of work-life balance, an employee may face emotional isolation and other health issues.  According to a study done by TeamLease, 1.1 to 1.8 million women (across 10 key sectors) might not even get jobs in the 2018-19 fiscal year as employers do not find maternity leaves and benefits feasible.To maintain their professional advancement, women are not marrying or avoiding pregnancies. This is also impacting our social life cycle. Late marriages or pregnancies are developing mental stress that develops parallel other diseases in an individual. Most Indian companies are not hiring women to avoid “maternity leave” liability so when any women professional get a job in any organization, they are always under mental pressure about her existence in the organization. Men, too, struggle to manage domestic duties as a result of long work hours. They struggle to deal with impromptu chores assigned by the manager as well as pre-planned work at home. Managing both circumstances and persuading any of them creates a lot of mental pressure, which can lead to heart problems. When you work long hours, you eat whatever is available at the time, which leads to dyspepsia and obesity, both of which contribute to lethargy.

Fostering a safe environment at the workplace

By fostering a safe environment at the workplace organizations can develop a healthy environment. The organization must that everyone gets proper respect and acknowledgement at the workplace irrespective of their gender. Leaders cannot use unparliamentary language in front of the team or one-on-one interaction even. Lack of performance or unproductivity does not allow your superior to use abusive language at the workplace with at any level of employee classifications. HR leaders must define proper working policies so that harassment at the workplace can be controlled. Organizations should have clear guidelines and zero-tolerance policies to deal with such harassment cases. Abusive behaviour of your leaders or peer develops an unhealthy working environment that led to high attrition and even if someone continues works because of their financial issues or personal reason face mental stress all the time that affects to their mental health which is seen in their behaviour in forms of less participation in workplace engagement, lack of confidence, frequent leaves, and or less engagement with other peers.

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Conclusion

Mental health issues should not be treated lightly. Mental health concerns have an impact on both work and personal life. Long working hours, an excessive workload, tight deadlines, job insecurity, and workplace abuses, among other things, may have a negative influence. Even if an employee leaves the organisation, the problem of mental discomfort persists, damaging the individual's health in the long run. Organizations that want to flourish and have a vision of becoming a Great Place to Work must take remedial measures to create a low-stress environment at work. Improperly set objectives, a lack of adequate resources, the absence of mandatory organizational policies, apathy toward the use of automation tools, and poor leadership can all contribute to increased anxiety among employees at all levels. The management of staff in a non-process-oriented workplace will be more difficult. An organization’s employee-friendly policies, better leave policies, proper escalations process, work-life balance, adequate objectives, healthy and safe environment with inclusiveness helps to find against any odd. Millennials and Generation Z are more likely to engage in social activities. Organizations with a multigenerational workforce must foster a culture that prevents internal conflicts caused by age differences. Workplace disputes that go unreported to management are another common source of mental stress, as Gen Y and Baby Boomers have different perspectives on things, while millennials and Gen Z have their own. Gender equality and the gender pay gap are other issues that can be resolved by implementing a clear employee policy. Remember, employees that leave your firm have an influence on your brand, therefore on their final day, they should be happy leavers, which is only achievable if organization promotes a healthy work environment for employees.