A new study from Vitality Health Insurance has revealed that 70% of Brits prioritise their physical health over their mental wellbeing, particularly in work environments.
With many still believing that physical ailments are taken more seriously than mental health issues, this points to the wider issue of workplaces not considering their employee’s psychological safety within their company culture.
What is Psychological Safety?
Psychological safety, referring to the feeling and belief that you can share your thoughts, opinions and ideas within a company, is critical to the success of an organisation. Amid worldwide concerns about a lack of equity, diversity and accessibility, alongside decreasing levels of retention and productivity and increasing amounts of burnout amongst workers, committing to creating psychologically safe workplaces is the best way to optimise employees and teams.
Further new research from Rethinkly reveals that just under one in five UK workers (18%) worry that their employees will judge them for making a mistake, and consequently, 23% of workers say that due to living with mental health issues, they feel that their productivity at work is 50% or less of what it could be.
The Importance of Psychological Safety in the Workplace
Key findings from research:
- 35% of the British workforce say they are unable to fulfil any kind of public delivery – presentations, client meetings, etc. – without acute anxiety
- 11% have a toxic relationship with peers and managers at work
- 26% harbour all workplace tension and find confrontation too difficult
- 15% have taken time off work due to feeling so challenged in communication
- 28% say that the inability to communicate within the workplace has had the largest impact on productivity
- 23% of workers say that due to living with mental health issues, they feel that their productivity at work is 50% or less of what it could be
In order to be implemented effectively, psychological safety needs to be fostered by employees at all levels within an organisation. Team cultures reflect the actions and reactions of their leaders and, to establish and maintain a psychologically safe workplace, leaders must consistently model inclusive behaviours in order to build new team norms over time.
This also extends to identifying when an employee’s threat responses are triggered, and how to properly deal with them. Feelings of being threatened could come from mishandled feedback, being intimidated by people on your team or having your status or autonomy jeopardised. The results of this latest research shows that investing in a psychologically safe spaces creates a substantial return for corporations of all sizes.
At a time when absenteeism due to poor mental health is rife and productivity is at its lowest, the importance of guaranteeing psychological safety is paramount.
Based in the UK, Rethinkly is helping organisations to build the skills and cultures needed in today’s dynamic business environments.