The World Health Organisation defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. This implies that it doesn’t limit itself to the absence of disease or infirmity but also mental health and mental fatigue.
In most service driven economies, workers spend up to 3 quarters of their waking time in the offices, so a good working environment is critical for a mental and physical wellbeing.
“A good work environment enables people to realize their full potential, helps them to cope with the normal stresses of life, to work productively, and to contribute to their communities. In such work environments, staff enjoy good self-esteem, they have positive social interactions with colleagues and their productivity is enhanced.” On the other hand, a toxic work environment is very unhealthy, leading to anxiety, irritability, low self-esteem, mental fatigue, high levels suspiciousness that can lead to paranoia, and bullying behavior from superiors. As shown in the study: work environment affects workers’ mental health from Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), employees that are exposed to “toxic” workplaces face higher emotional demand, higher mental fatigue levels and place them at higher risk of mental health disorders and reduced productivity. “We estimated that one-fourth of employee psychological distress was attributable to self-reported adverse work-related factors,” the researchers write. Psychological distress may represent early anxiety, depression, mental fatigue and has been linked to decreased job productivity and absenteeism.
The World Health Organization in their worksheet form September 2017 highlight the following Key Facts for mental health in the workplace:
- Work is good for mental health but a negative working environment can lead to physical and mental health problems.
- Depression and anxiety have a significant economic impact; the estimated cost to the global economy is US$ 1 trillion per year in lost productivity.
- Harassment and bullying at work are commonly reported problems and can have a substantial adverse impact on mental health.
- There are many effective actions that organizations can take to promote mental health in the workplace; such actions may also benefit productivity. Since most urban societies include a significant part of their workforce in workplaces of all types the attention to mental health, mental fatigue and worker satisfaction is a paramount factor to achieve high levels of productivity and, in the end, more profit.
Mental fatigue and emotional fatigue are some of the earliest symptoms and some of the easiest ones to detect allowing for quick action and workplace mental health improvement. Using a unintrusive system it is possible to analyze the worker performance and collect unbiased data that show early symptoms of mental and emotional fatigue. These systems prompt team leaders to promote breaks at the right time so that performance can be kept elevated. In the end, better breaks are just one of the factors that can lead to mental fatigue management, higher performance, and higher profits.