Why being at work might be good for an employee’s mental health
Should one of your employees fall ill with poor mental health, there may be days when they can’t get out of bed, let alone get to work. However, the workplace can offer some benefits, so too much time off can sometimes be detrimental.
Work provides a daily structure and routine, which can contribute to a sense of meaning and purpose. This may help to counter feelings of hopelessness and that sense of loss of control that can be evoked by depression or anxiety.
Work also provides companionship and social support at a time when people can feel incredibly isolated. That doesn’t mean you have to encourage them to be social, as they may prefer to get on with things quietly. But knowing they have your support will mean a great deal.
A job provides financial security. That’s helpful at any time, let alone when there may be doctors, psychologists and medication to pay for.
If people do remain at work, reassure them they have your personal support and anything they might share with you will remain confidential. Also, discuss whether there’s any reasonable adjustments you can make to help them while they recover. Setting realistic work goals for example. Or providing regular check-ins with a support person, flexible hours and time off for appointments.
And don’t forget one of the best things you can do in a situation like this is to simply ask, ‘how can we help you?’ Your employee will appreciate it.
When coming to work isn’t an option
Should an employee be so ill they need time off, ensure they don’t feel guilty about it. After all, you wouldn’t think twice if they needed time off for a serious physical illness. You’d likely do everything in your power to help them be happy and healthy again. So why should your attitude be any different when dealing with a mental illness? You can help by focusing on their welfare, with the understanding that having your employee well again is more efficient and cost effective for your business.
- How to tell your mind the workday is over
- Why negative thinking can be bad for business
- Why asking about a colleague’s mental health is never embarrassing
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