Mental Health in the Workplace

In the dynamic landscape of Canada’s workforce, employers are facing significant challenges in attracting and retaining skilled talent. It is more important now more than ever before for employers to attract talent by prioritizing the mental well-being of their workforce. The shift in focus is driven by research that shows employees are most productive when their mental health is not compromised and are seeking workplaces that promote overall well-being.


Mental health support is no longer a choice but a necessity, emerging as an urgent concern with a quarter of Canadians reporting mental health symptoms in 2021. A substantial five million people expressed the need for professional help, and over a third admitted to experiencing burnout. The seriousness of the situation is emphasized by the fact that 40 percent of workers aged 18 to 24 acknowledged being close to burnout.  Although employers are increasingly recognizing the importance of mental health support in the workplace more has to be done with harmful attitudes and behaviors that hinder progress.


Mental Health Hazards in the Workplace

Within the professional realm, threats to mental well-being, termed as psychosocial risks, can stem from factors like job responsibilities, work hours, specific attributes of the work environment, or prospects for career advancement, among other considerations.  The hazards to mental health in a work environment encompass:

  • Insufficient utilization of skills or being inadequately equipped for tasks.
  • Overwhelming workloads or a fast-paced work tempo, often exacerbated by inadequate staffing.
  • Extended, non-standard, or inflexible working hours.
  • Limited control over job design or workload.
  • Inadequate or hazardous physical working conditions.
  • A corporate culture that perpetuates negative behaviors.
  • Limited support from colleagues or authoritarian management.
  • Instances of violence, harassment, or bullying.
  • Discrimination and isolation.
  • Ambiguity in job roles.
  • Misaligned promotions or over-promotion.
  • Job insecurity, subpar compensation, or insufficient investment in career growth.
  • Clashes between personal and professional demands.

Individuals with severe mental health conditions are often excluded from employment opportunities, and when employed, they tend to encounter disparities in treatment. Unemployment and associated uncertainties also pose threats to mental health.


Hybrid Work Model

In a competitive job market where the attraction and retention of talent is paramount, employers are expected to address employees’ desires for work schedule flexibility, encompassing the option to work remotely. Hybrid work introduces flexibility into both our daily lives and our work settings, fostering employee contentment and enhancing productivity. Facilitating a better equilibrium between work and personal commitments can lead to reduced stress and burnout. Moreover, hybrid work allows individuals to operate within a comfortable and familiar setting, fostering a sense of security and overall well-being.


Role of Leaders in Mental Health

It is the duty of leaders to establish organizational cultures that enable proactive mental health education and help with mental health challenges. Leaders and supervisors can exemplify constructive conduct and contribute to dispelling the stigma surrounding mental health problems by openly sharing their own experiences with mental health.  They must lead by example and openly share their own personal struggles, as well as using informal communication channels to discuss their own challenges in the hopes that others will follow. Leaders can significantly contribute to the mental well-being of their staff.  Furthermore, employers can actively facilitate the development of employees’ mental fortitude by advocating for the inception of resilience training right from the outset of an employee’s tenure during onboarding. Especially for younger workers, taking their initial steps into the professional arena can be demanding and a stressful time.  Research underscores that numerous workplace behaviors become ingrained within the first five years of a career, reinforcing the importance of acquiring effective strategies for managing work-life challenges early on.


Prioritizing mental health in the workplace is not just a compassionate approach; it’s a strategic imperative that benefits both employees and organizations. By fostering a culture of openness, support, and proactive measures, companies can create an environment where employees thrive, contribute their best, and achieve optimal well-being. Through education, de-stigmatization, flexible policies, and genuine leadership engagement, the journey towards a mentally healthy workplace can lead to increased job satisfaction, improved productivity, reduced absenteeism, and a stronger sense of camaraderie among team members. As we continue to recognize the intricate connection between mental well-being and overall success, let us collectively work towards creating workplaces that not only drive achievement but also nurture the mental health and vitality of every individual within the organization.


Contact Us today to speak with one of our Recruitment Specialists and let us help you build your team with the right talent this year!




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