Mental health in the workplace: the easy ways managers can support employee's wellbeing

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The world of work is more flexible and dynamic than ever before, with remote options creating new job opportunities, offering a better work-life balance to employees, and allowing people to save time and money on their (now optional) commutes.

That being said, it’s still vital that we work hard to promote good mental health in the workplace. With surveys suggesting that a growing number of people across Europe are suffering from symptoms of burnout, it seems as if supporting employee’s wellbeing should be top on our list of priorities, not least of all because the World Health Organization – which recently recognized burnout as a medical condition – has laid out that it is actively making us worse at our jobs.

What is burnout?

Burnout is the “occupational phenomenon” that seems to be impacting employee mental health and wellbeing on every level.

“Burnout is caused by prolonged or excessive stress which manifests as a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion, combined with doubts about competence and the value of your work,” explains Eugene Farrell, mental health lead for AXA PPP healthcare

“It can be described as a persistent and severely unmanaged reaction to stress in the workplace.”

What are the symptoms of burnout?

According to Farrell, the majority of burnout symptoms are similar to those we experience with stress and other mental health phenomena – although this is a condition that is largely linked to the workplace.

Symptoms to watch out for include:

What can managers do to support employee wellbeing and promote good mental health in the workplace?

While it’s important to be aware of mental health conditions such as stress and burnout, it’s just as important to support employee wellbeing in the workplace. A good defence is, after all, the best offence!

And remember, people are far more likely to talk about their own wellbeing and mental health experiences if others do so, too. Set up monthly “Let’s Talk” summits at work and encourage people from across the company to shake their stories and break the stigma. It’s time to normalise mental health challenges. By being transparent about our personal struggles, we are more likely to foster a sense of trust in our employees – and this will encourage them to speak up about their wellbeing when necessary, too.