The content of our thoughts and the working of our minds are our deepest secrets. But what if a health condition or illness impacts your productivity, focus levels or relationships at work? In that case, speaking to a boss or colleague might be the best thing to do. Just keep the following steps in mind before you proceed.
- Acknowledge that the first step is scary. You may be worried about being labelled or discriminated against. But do it anyway. Your concern for your own well-being and your desire to continue contributing at work should override other doubts at that point.
- Choose the right person to unburden yourself to. It could be a manager, someone in HR, or a team-mate, depending on your workplace dynamic and personal equations.
- Before the conversation, read up on your company’s policies towards mental well-being to understand your rights and entitlements. It is mandatory for companies under the law to protect the dignity, privacy and equality of employees facing mental health issues, so don’t feel ashamed or defensive.
- Try to be clear about your expectations from the conversation — a shift to a different team or location, flexible hours, leave etc. — and make the case for it. Again, prior preparation is the key.
- And finally — when is it unnecessary to disclose your mental health condition to your employer? If it doesn’t impact your work or need sustained time off or company support, you probably don’t have to. Ultimately, however, you’re the best judge.