Over thirty percent of our life is spent working, with an average of forty hours spent working per week. It stands to reason that with such a lot of time spent working, a positive work-life balance is a key to ensuring an overall sense of happiness.
Equally, with so many hours devoted to work, it is perfectly natural for particular concerns to affect us from time to time. Balance is vital, and for us to feel our best at work it is essential to be aware of the everyday workplace struggles that affect us all at one point or another, and know how to deal with them effectively.
Many people experience mental health struggles during their life. It can be hard to deal with this at the best of times, but when you’re in a competitive job market, it can feel like you have to repress any struggles that you are going through to do your job.
According to the latest large-scale survey in England, “one in six people experience the symptoms of a mental health problem in any given week”. Issues such as stress and anxiety in the workplace can exacerbate existing mental health issues, and lead to problems with performance and eventually lead to burnout if not dealt with effectively.
Fortunately, there are ways to deal with mental health issues. Of course, the most obvious and effective one is to seek mental health counselling. As an employer, it is essential to have an open and understanding approach to the realities of workplace mental health. It is important to know your rights and what provisions your employer should provide.
Many legal rights protect us in the workplace, and mental health is no exception. The Equality Act (2010) in England, Scotland and Wales and the Disability Discrimination Act (1995, as amended) in Northern Ireland ensure that people with mental health issues are protected. Under this legislation, employers are required to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to accommodate a disability.
With this in mind, if you feel like your performance and wellbeing is suffering due to your mental health, and to protect yourself and your job, let someone at work know that you are going through these issues.
If you are a freelancer and don’t have the regular contact of going to an office and working alongside colleagues, then it may feel like you are isolated and unable to share your struggles with anyone in the workplace. There are freelancer communities that you can join, both online and in-person, where you can enjoy shared experiences with other individuals.
Burnout is closely linked with mental health and is the consequence of both physical and psychological strain. To avoid burnout, it is vital to have reasonable expectations for yourself and not to overtax your body and mind.
As an employer, it is good to watch out for the warning signs of burnout and provide a supportive environment. Consider including daily or weekly mindfulness activities which will help build morale as well as supporting the wellbeing of your workforce.
The effects of labour-intensive work on the body can be gruelling. Knowing the limits of your body, and the legislation in place to protect you will ensure that you can work optimally.
There are regulations in place when it comes to operating machinery and you have the right to know the hazards involved, as well as the right to state when you deem something to be too hazardous.
Lack of training
Do you feel like you have been given all the necessary training to complete your job? If not, then it is the responsibility of your employer to ensure you get the training you require.
If your job involves, for example, working as a mechanical designer, then knowing when to outsource to a consultancy service who can take over the emc testing. This specific example illustrates the importance of knowing when to outsource and when to train up.
Being a people pleaser isn’t always easy, nor should you always have to feel like you need to please everyone. At work, where personal viewpoints can occasionally get in the way of professionalism, it is vital to know how to deal with the occasional work-place conflict and resolve it before it causes any long-term problems.
Instead of focusing on the negatives, try to address the individual by praising qualities or actions that you value in them, before expressing how their behaviour has negatively impacted you. Do try to remember that while it can feel very uncomfortable to deal with conflict at work, it is better to resolve it quickly and move on rather than letting it simmer and create more significant problems further down the line.