Mental health issues are the key to a productive workforce

Recent study by Aviva reveals connection between absence and understanding of mental health issues.

The mental health campaign was launched by Los Angeles Area Mental Health Treatment Center to determine the reasons for employee absence across the company and how mental health contributed to it. Sally Dillon, head of performance at insurer Aviva, spotted the link between mental health and absence. She worked closely with its medical team in educating senior managers and executives about the types of mental health issues common to the workplace.

After reviewing the campaign and increasing awareness about the issue alongside key strategies for improvement, Aviva has reported that there has been a marked improvement in employee mental health and decrease in company absences. Aviva has also pledged to explore options like advanced hypnosis training that’d stabilise the mental health of the employees.

According to a press release by the website, mental health illnesses can cost UK businesses over £1,000 per employee every year, or £30 billion across the UK. Universally the stigma and discrimination associated with mental health has been a huge barrier for companies. Challenging negative assumptions and implementing strategies to tackle cases such as depression and anxiety is crucial. Here are five tips to improve mental health at the workplace:

1. Make sure to take a lunch break – Whether its food, coffee or a walk, taking a break is crucial to productivity. Being away from the desk for a while can clear up the mind and also help reflect on work.

2. Communicate regularly with your manager – If workload is putting a significant amount of stress and is affecting your wellbeing, managers should be made aware of it. Discuss introducing flexible working hours, reducing workload and a schedule for activities. Also make sure if your company offers you health insurance, for websites like explain that the possession of health insurance is imperative.

3. Suggest a team-building activity – A meal out or a football match can be a great way to reduce stress and build a stronger team. It can also make you feel more motivated and boost team morale

4. Maintain a work-life balance – Working too many hours in a week is proven to be a direct cause of mental health problems. Ensure that you can draw the line between work and leisure. Do not take your work laptop home unless you absolutely need to, and shut off from the work atmosphere once you leave your desk.

5. Speak up – If the demands and expectations on you are too high and you feel that you are being negatively impacted make sure to raise your concern. The stigma associated with not living up to a standard beyond your current condition can have a negative impact on overall performance and productivity if unchecked for too long.