May is Mental Health Awareness Month – and as supply chains continue to face uphill battles in the current environment, workers are also feeling the impact. This past year, 45% of US adults reported their mental health has been negatively affected by worry during the pandemic.
Who’s affected and why
On top of the pandemic, certain industries are known to cause more stress to its workers. For example, manufacturing and construction industries create high-pressure situations and require heavy machinery operations.
Work environments across these sectors have been traditionally dominated by rigid policies and an environment where workers may not feel comfortable with discussing their problems. Not only that, general stress levels have skyrocketed with 21% of business leaders feeling extremely stressed.
Injuries also play a prominent part of mental distress in the workplace. A study found that injured construction workers were 45% more likely to be treated for depression than non-injured workers.
Additionally, poor management of workers’ wellbeing in supply chains can lead to things like suicide. According to the CDC, the construction industry alone in the US has a suicide rate of 53 per 100,000 people, which is four times higher than the general population.
Opening the door for conversation
In the past, worksites weren’t conducive to open discussions around mental health issues. Looking ahead businesses need to prioritise mental health alongside physical safety in this new normal and a post-pandemic world.
In the future, working styles and methodologies will continue to adapt as more industries realise the importance of mental health for their workers and for business.
Emotional support and empathy: looking ahead, businesses should unlock collective capabilities by showing greater faith, empathy and consideration to their employees – giving them reason to believe that they are taken care of by their employer.
Intellectual and social engagement: reaching business goals can add on much stress. Companies who make this their focus may succeed in the short-term, but for organisations aiming to achieve long-term business stability, management should engage with the workforce on a more personal level.
Flexibility of work: This new normal provides ample opportunities to break conventions in pursuit of a safer and a more productive future. The previous work standards typically included strict work timings and schedules and siloes – but today and beyond, companies need to make way for flexible work models. This can not only result in a better overall wellness of employees but could also improve productivity and increase profit.
Mental health openness and support system: companies should develop a platform proactively where employees can open up about their pain points. This can happen by encouraging communication among management, creating human-first initiatives and providing complete confidentiality.
Most mental health risks arise from the managerial and organisational environment and a lack of communications and support between work teams. At Avetta, we’re aware that more is needed to guarantee the mental side of the overall wellness of employees.
We’re helping employers everyday make sure their practices include proper safety guidelines that protect workers both physically and mentally. Ultimately, that will set the tone for a safer, more inclusive world that thrives on safety and collaboration.