Person A: Hey, would you like to join us for a drink?
Person B: Oh I am so sorry. I am still in the office. I have to get some work done before tomorrow.
Does that sound familiar to you? I am not surprised that it did. In recent years, a large number of people have been spending more and more time in the office which in turn has resulted in the drastic rise in mental health issues at the workplace. There is no denying that trying to maintain a steady income is important for you and your family but at what cost?
For the past three years, investment banker Andy from Singapore was plagued by nightmares because of stress from his 14-hour work days. He was moody all the time. Food became a source of comfort, and his weight went from 70kg to 80kg. Three weeks ago, Andy, 29, who declined to give his full name, decided to quit.
His case is not uncommon, say doctors and human resource experts. More young professionals are ending up with medical problems, including insomnia, depression and hypertension, because of extra-long work hours.
Mental health is one of the biggest issues in the workplace nowadays. The steady rise in the number of mental issues in the workplace is staggering and needs to be addressed. Mental health the commonly experienced symptoms of stress and anxiety, right through to the more complex mental health conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. These issues cause severe repercussions to the company in terms of large turnover rates and sickness absence due to depression, burnout and exhaustion. Theoretically speaking, companies recognize the importance of handling mental health issues at the workplace but the dominant reactions within organizations seem to be knee-jerk in nature rather than tackling the issue.
recent survey by Regus found 70% of Malaysian employees were afflicted with diseases which stemmed from rising stress levels at work. In addition, 33% of respondents were worried about losing their jobs and 53% of respondents reported their family and friends have noticed they are stressed by work. The staggeringly high number of these health issues will only continue to rise if nothing is done in the near future. Unfortunately, this is not just an issue in Malaysia but all globally as well.
There is not denying that we are not experts in mental health issues and there are other issues in the business world that need to be attended to. But there are some ways to pick out the signs that you or a colleague may be going through a mental breakdown and needs help.
The first sign is the emotional changes that an employee exhibits. The said employee will suddenly become more irritable, sensitive to criticism, demonstrates loss of confidence or loses his sense of humour. Next is the cognitive change. The employee will make more mistakes than usual, has problems making decisions, is not able to concentrate and shows a sudden and unexplained drop in performance at work. Besides that, the employees will also exhibit behavioural changes such as arriving late to work, not going out for lunch breaks, taking unofficial time off and not hitting deadlines. The final sign will be the physical sign such as constantly being tired at work, not putting enough attention to their appearance and rapid weight gain or loss.
In line with everything that is known about mental illnesses at work, it is absolutely vital that companies look into preventive methods to ensure that the high risk of mental health illness does not affect the growth and sustainability of their company.
Download HR Standards: Setting The Bar
As an organisation that aims to enhance existing capabilities and guide great minds to the right direction so they can maximise their potential, K-Pintar is dedicated to making knowledge accessible to its stakeholders.
It’s a challenging time to be in the human resources (HR) profession, but it’s also exciting.
With the free e-book titled HR Standards: Setting The Bar, HR practitioners can learn valuable insights and that enable them to make the right decisions and set the bar for others to follow. The free e-book can be downloaded by visiting this page.
To learn more about K-Pintar, visit the group’s website today.