One key factor contributing to workplace mental health issues is the culture of working long hours. Working from home and smart technology have exacerbated that tendency to the point where there’s a real danger that many employees never really switch off from their job at all. So what can be done to help them avoid working extended hours.

  1. First, managers need to know their team as individuals, so that they can encourage each person to play to their strengths. When people are doing what they’re best at, they’re engaged, energized – and less likely to procrastinate.

  3. It is also really empowering, and reduces the likelihood of stress and overwork, when individuals have at least an element of control over their workflow. That can mean involving them in the design of their job, reviewing processes to improve efficiency, being able to call on additional support for the busiest periods, and acknowledging that some targets have more flexibility than others.

  5. When flexible working arrangements are an integral part of the work environment, it’s important to give some thought to meetings and how they are conducted, so that team members are able to participate fully whether they are in the office or online. Issues such as the timing and location of meetings, and built-in breaks need consideration.

  7. Research has shown that productivity is greater in workplaces characterised by trust, in which employees feel comfortable being themselves. In that kind of environment, teams are able to take risks without fear of negative comeback, and learn from mistakes to enhance the next idea, rather than having to cover up mistakes.

  9. These key factors in today’s workplaces — engagement, control, flexibility, trust – require managers to adapt and focus more on supporting and enabling outcomes, rather than on micromanaging employees’ working practices or hours. The important thing is the work is done on time, that it’s great work – and that the team thrived in the process.


Our expert

Dr Wolfgang Seidl

Dr Wolfgang Seidl

Partner, Leader of Workplace Health Consulting UK and Europe, Mercer Marsh Benefits

Wolfgang is a doctor of medicine and leads Mercer’s Workplace Health Solutions. He advises companies on health and wellbeing strategies, integrated models of healthcare and proactive interventions.

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