Workplace pressure contributes to mental health issues for the majority of business leaders, according to the IoD. We asked unLTD contributors what business leaders can do to address the problem – for their staff and for themselves.
Work is the most common cause of stress in British adults1. With mental health related absence costing the UK workplace £7.9bn2, it has never been more important for business leaders to invest in their own mental health and the support offered by their organisation.
With business leaders often experiencing significant pressure in their job, high levels of stress are common which can lead to burnout. A state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress; burnout can lead to detachment, reduced productivity and even mental health issues.
It’s crucial to understand and recognise these symptoms to prevent burnout from occurring. Developing unhealthy or out of character habits, spending minimal time at home, or discussing work constantly, are all signs that mental and physical health are at risk.
There are many ways that business leaders can address the problem of mental health at work, for both themselves and their employees. Good mental and physical health is key for anyone to be happy and productive at work.”
- Support systems
To avoid burnout, support systems are crucial. It can be common for business leaders to avoid seeking out help but this can lead to an increase in stress. It’s crucial that business leaders feel they have someone that they can turn to for support in highly stressful times. With leaders getting support when they need it, this will help to create a culture where people take responsibility for their own wellbeing. The culture of a workplace also needs to be sympathetic, with friendly and approachable line managers, and different options available for employees, because one size doesn’t fit all. A Wellbeing Plan is a great resource for employers looking to provide more support on a range of different health and wellbeing topics.”
Although it’s important to work hard throughout the week, when this impacts evenings or weekends, productivity can be affected. Business leaders need to make sure that they give themselves enough time to recharge in the evenings and at weekends, preferably doing something that they really enjoy. Employees should also be encouraged to take time out doing something fun or relaxing to make sure they’re at they’re happiest, and feel rested and recharged at the beginning of each week. A tried leader is more likely to make poor decisions. ”
- Mental resilience
With business leaders responsible for the mental health and wellbeing of themselves and their employees, it’s a great idea to go through training, such as a wellbeing workshop which covers resilience, coping with pressure and emotional wellbeing, to learn how to differentiate between pressure and stress and make positive lifestyle changes. Business leaders should develop self-awareness, and have an understanding of the effects of stress, in order to offer support to employees and identify the signs and symptoms of burnout.”
By being more aware of the signs and symptoms of mental health issues, it will be easier to spot when workplace pressures may be contributing to a decrease in wellbeing and why it’s so important to implement these simple steps.”