How do you accommodate mental Health in the workplace?
The global pandemic of the covid19 that we are still living, has left too much irreparable damage along the way. However, there is an aspect little commented on and forgotten by many, but that many people are suffering today. We are talking about “work-related mental health”, also known as SMRT.
We are not talking about a condition specifically related to the pandemic, but it is aggravated by a stressful situation that continues to affect day today. The forced confinement, separation of families, teleworking tax, and labor issues/life balance are factors that increase the problems of workers related to SMRT.
A problem raised by Covid19
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As we say, the coronavirus crisis has aggravated a situation that is already a kind of taboo subject among the workforce of many companies. Remember that half the population suffers from mental illness throughout their lives, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). That is why there has been a kind of necessary awakening, where even the Labor Inspection is going to take into account the mental health of workers.
This aspect is a right included in the Workers’ Statute and the Law on Prevention of Occupational Risks. For this reason, companies will have to focus on their workers in the face of work-related mental health risks. In order to give it the importance that it has undeservedly not enjoyed until now, the Labor Inspection published last April a new Technical Criterion on action against psychosocial risks. In this criterion, it is identified that they are considered occupational risks and that, potentially, they can affect the health of workers.
Work stress can become a serious problem in the workplace, not only for the worker who suffers it but also for colleagues or the employer himself. As part of this initiative, companies will have the obligation to assess these risks and plan preventive measures. The objective of protecting the worker and his mental health is important even at the risk that the company will suffer sanctions if it does not place the necessary emphasis on this aspect. In this way, if a worker offers samples of SMRT that may affect their mental health, the company must carry out an investigation in order to detect it.
In the same way, it will be necessary to carry out a follow-up with the reincorporation to work, thus verifying the health status of the worker. In addition, companies that ignore these guidelines may be sanctioned according to the Law on Infractions and Sanctions in the Social Order according to technical Criterion 104/2021 on actions of the Labor and Social Security Inspection on Psychosocial Risks.
Is it so important and necessary?
The answer is a resounding yes. The data is on the table, with studies such as that of the ILO (International Labor Organization) that indicate that 60% of employees suffer from some type of depression or anxiety. In addition, it is revealed that half of the non-productive working days are a consequence of the harmful effects of stress on the health of workers.
As a result, not only is the health of employees affected, but it also affects the performance of the company. It is undeniable that mental health prevention initiatives not only help the employee but also deliver better results for companies. There are several studies that agree that a company with happy employees increases its sales above 30%.