The Harvard Business Review recently published an article by Kelly Greenwood titled “How Organizations Can Support Women’s Mental Health at Work.” The article discusses how women are facing mental health challenges in the workplace. Many women face gender role stereotypes, pay inequity, sexual harassment, and imposter syndrome. Women are 50% more likely than men to experience depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and PTSD. On top of workplace stressors, women often face caregiver burdens. Balancing taking care of a family and working a full-time job is difficult. The COVID pandemic made this stress even more difficult. Author Kelly Greenwood discusses how companies and women can support women’s mental health in the workplace with the following strategies.
We need to reflect on what is causing or contributing to our individual mental health challenges. Is it workload, nature of your work, caregiving burdens, relationships, discrimination, or something else? Ask yourself, is your work affecting your mental health, or is your mental health affecting your work? It could be both. It often helps to discuss and talk through your thoughts with a close friend, family member, or therapist. Once you have reflected it is time to take action.
Talk With Your Manager or Human Resources
When you are struggling with mental health it is important to communicate with your manager or HR. If you need accommodation in the workplace, it does not hurt to ask. This can seem scary, intimidating, and uncomfortable at first, but you may be pleasantly surprised about how understanding they are. Remember that you are in control of how much you share and who you share it with. Some companies may offer mental health resources for employees.
Leave If You Have To
If your company is unaccommodating, toxic, or has a bad culture that is affecting your mental health, consider leaving. A job is not as important as your mental health. When searching for a new job, look for companies that support their employee’s mental health and well-being.
How Companies Can Support Mental Health
Leadership needs to have an understanding of the importance of their employee’s mental health. The tone of the culture of a workplace is driven by those in leadership positions. Encourage a culture that supports employees’ mental health needs. Organizations should provide training to leadership about mental health, how to have open communication, and how to provide support to employees. Policies and protocols should be built to consider mental health. Organizations should be aware of how their demands on employees can affect mental health. Building in flexible work hours and remote work options has become a huge draw for employees and aids in supporting mental health.
- Women face unique stressors in the workplace which can affect mental health
- Reflecting on and communicating your concerns with your workplace is important
- Organizations need to better support mental health through leadership, culture, policies, and flexibility
To read the original article from the Harvard Business Review, click here
Greenwood, K. (2022, March 18). How organizations can support women’s mental health at work. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved March 20, 2022