You’ve gotten used to working from home, back in the office, or a bit of both. You’ve emerged from the pandemic with a renewed perspective of what matters most to you in your career. You’ve likely adapted to changes in your routine that have now become normal. So, now what?
We’ve talked a lot about mental health over the past two years, especially as it relates to workplace productivity. And while there’s an abundance of online resources available and newly-implemented programs by employers that prioritize it among their workforces, there are some overlooked hurdles that may be hindering productivity at work.
Entrepreneur recently published an article that explores an ‘out-of-the-box approach to workplace wellness.’ In it, the authors cite that hidden mental health hurdles are putting businesses at risk by hindering productivity.
Read on to discover three hurdles you may need to overcome to improve your mental health and overall wellbeing.
Addiction to social media
Put down your phone (unless you’re reading this article). We’ve logged a lot of screen time these past two years, especially in the absence of seeing one another in person during the early days of the pandemic’s quarantine. An unfortunate side effect of this is social media addiction. Behavioral addiction specialist Hailey Shafir, LCMHCS, LPCS, LCAS, CCS says “Research on behavioral addictions has found evidence for internet, gaming, and social media addictions. What we know is that these activities all trigger the release of dopamine, a powerful brain chemical that causes the ‘high’ most people feel when they take an addictive drug. Over time, repeated use can create ‘addiction pathways’ in the brain, making it much more difficult for a person to control, cut back, or stop their use.”
Because the average employee spends 12 percent of their working hours using unproductive social media applications, employers are losing thousands of dollars per year. If you consider the 40-hour workweek, this equates to nearly 5 unproductive hours per week that are lost to social media.
The fix? Designate certain windows of time for social media use. Make a point to avoid logging in during work hours and not exceeding your allotted time.
In the early days of the pandemic when offices closed and many workforces went remote, alcohol consumption among Americans jumped. According to alcohol delivery app Drizly, sales surged 485 percent through mid-April 2020. For some, drinking became a way to cope with the stress induced by the pandemic’s impact. When it comes to productivity and mental health, alcochol takes a toll. Even when consumed occsassionally, alcohol disrupts sleep patterns and can cause feelings of anger, sadness, mental exhaustion, and stress by increasing the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Nonprofit advocacy company Shatterproof cites that addiction costs companies $442 billion a year in health care costs, lost productivity and absenteeism.
The fix? Even in moderation, alcohol can wreck havoc on our productivity and our mental health. Instead of going on the wagon completely, try drinking less during the workweek. Start small by having one fewer drink. For some, abstaining from workweek drinks entirely has proven beneficial.
This one may not come as a surprise to anyone. Burnout is real. A Mental Health America report finds that “Most employees are experiencing the early signs of burnout” with nearly 83 percent of respondents agreeing with the statement: “I feel emotionally drained from my work.” Harvard Business Review assesses that burned-out employees cost an estimated $125-190 billion a year in healthcare spending in the U.S.
The fix? Breathe, get perspective, and take time off. Avoid taking a day off here and there. Take the time needed to fully recharge and reset. There’s never been a better time to prioritize you and your mental health. In the long-run, it’s a win-win for both employees and employers.
Read the full article from Entrepreneur here.