The frequency of mental illnesses increases every year, as numerous studies have shown. In the past 20 years, the number of sick days lost due to mental illnesses increased because the number of sick people was longer and the number of employees who were on sick leave due to depression or a burnout, for example, rose.
The causes of these diseases are usually difficult to determine. Increasing stress at work is often identified as the main cause. This diagnosis is certainly true, among other things, because today many companies have fewer employees who have to do the same or even a larger amount of work than before and because of increased competition and rapid technological progress, the demands on employees are changing faster and faster. In addition, the relationships between many companies and their employees have become more fragile, which is also reflected in the increased number of temporary workers and employees with temporary contracts. This also increases the psychological pressure on many workers.
With this diagnosis alone, companies come when it comes to maintaining or even promoting the health of their employees, but not far – among other things because the changed work requirements and the changed work organization also reflect market requirements. In addition, what a person experiences as stress is very subjective.
Such individual patterns of thought and behavior play an important role in the feeling of stress. And employees show this at home as well, because they are a part or an expression of their personality. Therefore, those who are quickly stressed out at work are rarely a resting place in private life. And who can never say no to colleagues? As a rule, it is also difficult for them to draw boundaries privately. It is difficult to separate work and private life when it comes to stress.
Companies try to avoid overloading their employees through classic occupational health prevention, which focuses primarily on the health-oriented design of workplaces. However, you won’t get very far on your own: you have to keep an eye on the whole person.
This is also necessary because when employees reach their limits and, for example, there is a risk of burnout, the following usually applies: The reasons for this also lie in the work area, but not exclusively. There are also other factors that lead to overload. There is, for example, the controller at a telecommunications company who has been suffering from sleep disorders for years – also because she cannot find the desired life partner. Or there is the manager and father of two children, who is usually only at home on weekends, which is why there is a crisis in his marriage. Or there is the marketing specialist, whose mother suffered a stroke and needs intensive care. For all these people, the overwhelming is not just for professional reasons.