In recent years, we’ve seen a marked increase in the coverage of mental health issues in the general public discourse. This has been wonderful to see and, speaking plainly, something that was long overdue. After all, mental health is something that’s omnipresent and its associated conditions – anxiety and depression, for example – don’t discriminate when it comes to who they impact. They affect anybody. A person’s mental wellbeing is something that’s impacted upon by many different factors, and ensuring positive mental wellbeing should be paramount within the workplace. Here at Munday + Cramer, whether it be our CIAT-qualified technicians, RIBA-qualified architects, building surveyors or anyone else, we make sure we take extra steps to look after our employees’ mental health.
Given that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, we want to touch upon how to manage wellbeing within a workplace environment. This is especially important, currently, because of the Coronavirus and its impacts.
Some Key Mental Health Statistics
First, though, let’s touch upon just why exactly mental health is so crucial through the lens of some global statistics. Back in 2019, the World Health Organisation listed some key facts to highlight the prevalence of mental health issues the world over. This is what they found:
- Roughly 1 in 5 individuals under the age of 18 have some form of mental disorder.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death in those aged between 15-29 years.
- Annually, the global economy loses approximately $1 trillion in productivity due to disorders such as depression and anxiety.
- Mental disorders affect 1 in 4 people during their lives.
These are not trivial statistics, not to be ignored and certainly no less important than physical health (a claim often touted by the more ignorant within our society). Many people don’t realise they are suffering from a condition like anxiety, for instance, and so they simply suffer in silence because it’s all that they’ve ever known. With that in mind, we thought we’d list some key symptoms to look out for so that you may take proactive steps towards looking after yourself.
What To Look Out For?
Anxiety and depression are two of the most commonly experienced mental disorders, becoming an expert on their symptoms will allow you to better understand your own mental wellbeing.
The main symptoms of anxiety include:
- Physical: panic attacks, tight chest, rapid breathing, feeling on edge and shaking.
- Psychological: constant worry, obsessive thinking and excessive fear.
- Behavioural: compulsive behaviour, task avoidance, drug or alcohol reliance and difficulty in concentrating.
The primary symptoms of depression include:
- Physical: increased tiredness, visible loss of confidence and changes in physical appearance.
- Psychological: general apathy, feelings of numbness, sadness, hopelessness and self-loathing.
- Behavioural: losing interest in things, increased usage of drugs, alcohol or both and increased mood swings.
Understanding the symptoms of these disorders is the first step in recognising potential problems you may be going through, which can then lead to you getting the necessary help.
Wellbeing Within The Workplace
Most jobs have at least an element of pressure within them. At our practice, for example, our project management teams and building surveyors have to work to incredibly tight deadlines to deliver work of an exceptional quality. This understandably places these professionals under a large amount of pressure. This pressure can very quickly tilt over into stress if you’re not careful. Stress is something that can be incredibly harmful to both mental and physical health if left unchecked.
Here at Munday + Cramer, we believe that everybody deserves to have their wellbeing taken seriously in their chosen profession. Whether that be building surveyors, technicians, management teams or anybody else. We operate an open-door policy to ensure our employees feel able to open up and talk if they’re struggling. This is unusual in such a pressurised industry, but a proclivity for openness and support helps foster a culture of community and camaraderie. We sum up our approach in one, age-old adage:
“A problem shared is a problem halved.”
The Current Situation
One of the major difficulties, currently, is that all the factors that ordinarily contribute towards diminished mental wellbeing are being compounded by the current COVID-19 situation. For those fortunate enough to be able to work remotely, it’s important to take things a day at a time. The pressure to be productive and meet workplace targets at this time, whilst under wildly uncertain circumstances and with the distractions that home invariably brings make for an immensely trying situation.
It’s crucial, then, that you make proactive, positive mental wellbeing one of your primary concerns when working remotely. The following tips are ways in which you can alleviate some of the stressors placed upon us by the lockdown:
- Keep routine where you’re able. We’re not suggesting dressing in a suit and tie, necessarily. However, making something of an effort rather than simply working in your pyjamas will have impact positively on your productivity.
- Acceptance. It’s human nature to squirm at a lack of control; at the minute, though, there isn’t a huge amount we can do to regain control. For that reason, we shouldn’t really bother trying. The mere acceptance of this fact can lift a sizeable chunk of that weight we’re all feeling right now.
- Celebrate little wins and don’t sweat the small stuff. We need to take positives where we can at the minute. So, be kind to yourself and acknowledge that, considering everything going on, you’re doing a great job just getting through. By the same token, don’t castigate yourself for what, in the grand scheme of, are relatively trivial deeds or acts.
As you can see, we take mental wellbeing incredibly seriously here at our practice, as we believe everybody should. After all, there’s nobody you’ll spend more time with during your life than yourself. So, if you’d like to find out more about how Munday + Cramer looks after the wellbeing of its staff members – from its project management teams to its building surveyors – then get in touch! Contact us today on 01245 326 200.