It seems obvious that our working lives have a major impact on our mental wellbeing.
We spend a significant portion of time hard at work, after all – of course that’s going to seep into our headspace.
But sometimes it can help to look at the cold, hard stats of just how significantly your time in the office can affect your time outside of it – if only to give you a nudge to make a change.
A new study confirms that if you’re feeling miserable as a result of your workplace, you’re certainly not alone.
People who work in ‘toxic’ environments – identified by poor management practices, bullying, and a failure to prioritise employees’ mental health – are three times more likely to be diagnosed with depression, says this research.
The year-long Australian population study, led by UniSA’s Psychosocial Safety Climate Observatory, discovered a link between working long hours and depression, too, and noted that men are more likely than women to become depressed if their workplace doesn’t seem bothered about their wellbeing.
Also causing issues are burnout and workplace bullying.
Lead author Dr Amy Zadow said: ‘Evidence shows that companies who fail to reward or acknowledge their employees for hard work, impose unreasonable demands on workers, and do not give them autonomy, are placing their staff at a much greater risk of depression.’
The risks of these kinds of working environments go beyond the individual.
If employees are unhappy, mistreated, and burnt out, productivity will suffer and absenteeism will rise.
It’s clear that bosses need to put a renewed focus on workers’ mental health – especially following the immense stresses of the pandemic.
In the meantime, we’re likely to see more burnout, more mental health issues, and more resignations post-lockdown.
Signs of burnout:
- Interrupted sleep
- Getting sick more often
- Gum disease
- Lack of motivation
- Low mood
- Being unable to stop thinking about work
- Impaired memory
- Struggling to make decisions
- Feeling irritable or snapping at people
‘What coronavirus is doing for many of us is opening up our lives, taking away the blinkers we’ve always lived with and making us ask many new questions we’ve never asked ourselves before,’ says psychotherapist Serge Beddington-Behrens on why resignations are looming.
‘Many of us dislike our work not because it is necessarily inappropriate work for us, but because of the politics we face every day in our work environment.
‘If we can agree some shifts or if we could have a role in somehow changing the politics, we might feel happier.’
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