A recent study conducted by the World Health Organisation found, ‘that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year in lost productivity.’ Mental issues affect employees in multiples ways and can manifest themselves in absenteeism, low productivity, alcoholism or substance abuse.
Here are the best strategies for coping with employees who are facing mental health issues.
Before you read ahead, it is important to understand that as with every illness, it is up to the employee to choose a method of treatment for their ailment. The sphere of focus for an employer needs to be limited to managing stressors at the workplace, walking the employee through the office expectations and helping them be successful at work.
Furthermore, remember that mental illnesses tend to distort perceptions and lead to increased emotional vulnerability and responses.
Identification of Issues
Ask the distressed employee the following questions:
- When are they the most stressed during work hours?
- Which tasks are most stressful for them?
- How does negative feedback affect them?
- Does a certain style of directions and instructions stress them out?
- Do they perceive job expectations as motivation or pressure?
- Do they stress out over work relationships?
By asking these questions, you will help employees understand stressors at the workplace and develop coping strategies accordingly.
Collaborate to Find a Solution
Work toward a solution together but do not offer them a solution after hearing them out. Give them a chance to think and develop a solution themselves.
This strategy proves to be effective because it gives them an incentive to work toward a personal recommendation for self-improvement and also because their situation may differ from others. In the off-chance that their solution is impractical, you can talk to them to find a compromise.
Convey your expectations clearly, including the quality of work, everyday tasks and deadlines. Make sure the employee fully understands what is expected out of him/her and let them know the procedures that may have to be followed in case expectations are not met.
Consider Their Concerns
Address your employee’s work-related concerns and act immediately to reduce workplace stressors. Delegate a task that re-energizes the employee (where possible) and prioritize work if the employee seems under pressure.
Preparing a plan to identify, address and cope with employees battling mental illnesses should be a priority for every employer. Invest time, resources and energy in to the mental and wellbeing of your workforce to reap effective outcomes and great performance.
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