One in four (26%) men have been struggling with their mental health for more than five years without feeling able to talk about it at work, according to new research.
Findings from Rethinkly, highlighted during Men’s Health Week this week, revealed that almost a quarter (23%) of male workers believe their mental health difficulties have meant their productivity is 50% or less than what it could be.
The visualisation platform further found that more than one in five (22%) male staff say the hardest aspect of their work is verbally communicating with both colleagues and managers, while nearly three in 10 (28%) believe their inability to do so has the greatest effect on their productivity.
The research also highlighted that around one in five (19%) male employees worry they will be judged for any mistakes they make, while more than one in 10 (11%) claim their relationship with colleagues and managers is toxic.
According to Rethinkly, this is indicative of poor psychological safety. Co-founders Andrew Jackson and David Tinker, believe changing communications and improving HR operations are some of the actions necessary to achieve psychologically safe working environments.
Tinker said: “An unhealthy culture tends to be one where even the fact that something is undiscussable cannot be discussed – the huge elephant in the room. This normally results in avoidance of risk, poor decision making and low levels of creativity all resulting in poor performance. We don’t like working in unhealthy cultures as we know it has a negative impact on our wellbeing and yet we can feel trapped. The only way out is to create ‘psychological safety’, especially at the top. Psychological safety is achieved by increasing levels of self-awareness through some kind of reflective practice – looking in the mirror and listening to feedback.”
Businesses should provide platforms, such as support networks or resource groups, where workers can openly share their experiences, explains Jackson.
He added: “Most challenges at work stem from a lack of or just bad communication. Communication challenges are directly aligned with morale, productivity, and commitment which have real business impact. Effective communication and building a strong culture based on healthy engagement are often talked about but surprisingly difficult to achieve. But when organisations start to embed and grow critical communication skills and adopt them as a competitive advantage, they can start to see a significant shift in their trajectory.”