Improving mental health within the workplace is just as important as physical health. Whether or not workers have mental health concerns, their experience at work can have a huge impact on the state of their wellbeing.
According to a report from EqualEngineers, more than a fifth of engineers have taken time off work due to mental health-related problems, with one in five admitting to losing a colleague due to suicide. The report, titled Masculinity in Engineering, explores the perception of masculinity and the impact it has on company culture and mental health in the engineering sector.
At Cordant Engineering, we are striving to improve the diversity within our own team and across the sector. However, the reality is that engineering is still a very male-dominated industry.
The statistics from this report show that a lack of diversity in the workplace is a health and safety issue. If employees are not able to be open about themselves, due to attitudes and a lack of diversity, this can lead to mental health issues and decreased wellbeing.
Therefore, not only is it vital that employers create a workplace that allows employees to be vulnerable, but it is also important that they attempt to tackle the culture of ‘toxic masculinity’ within engineering.
How can this be achieved?
Tips for Employers
As we mentioned above, employers need to start taking steps, if they haven’t already, to implement a strategy and plan within their business to tackle and help employees manage these mental health problems. Here are a few steps companies can take:
- Create and implement a ‘mental health at work plan.’
- Develop mental health awareness and talk openly about it with your employees.
- Provide good working conditions and opportunities for your staff to ensure they have a good work/life balance.
- Tackle the culture of ‘toxic masculinity’ within your workforce by addressing ‘macho’ behaviours.
- Frequently monitor employee mental health and wellbeing.
Tips for Employees
As an employee, mental health problems can be overwhelming, and it doesn’t help when you’re stuck in an environment which can be toxic. You need to remember that there is no shame in opening up if you are feeling the strain at work. Try some of the following tips to help yourself:
- Talk to someone and open up about your struggles. This can be with a fellow employee, family, your manager or even a professional if needed.
- Get plenty of rest. Working in engineering can mean long workdays as well as being physically and mentally demanding at times. Make sure you get plenty of sleep before your next shift to ensure you’re well-rested.
- If you’re stuck in a toxic work environment, speak to your manager or HR department for advice. Most companies will not tolerate bad behaviour or toxic masculinity, especially if it’s affecting your mental health.
- Look after yourself. Make sure you get plenty of exercise, drink in moderation and eat well as this can have a negative impact on your mental health if not.
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