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Positive Impacts of Agile Methodology on Employee’s Mental Health

March 6, 2023
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The Behind Story 

It’s a story that has become all too common in the world of work: an employee pushed to the brink by the demands of their job, the pressure of targets, and the weight of their responsibilities. And in the case of one MNC company, it had tragic consequences.

The employee, working from home, was under immense pressure to achieve their targets, and their management was pushing him to the edge. It all came to a head one night when the employee suffered a cardiac arrest. His wife, unable to get through to him, eventually called his manager, who also failed to respond. It was only with the help of one team member that the employee’s wife was able to get him to the hospital.

But what is perhaps most shocking about this story is what happened next. Despite being aware of the situation, none of the employee’s management colleagues reached out to offer any kind of support or assistance. It’s a stark reminder of the inhumanity that can exist in our corporate culture.

This incident is what triggered me to write about “the positive impacts of Agile methodology on employee mental health”. As we’ll see, Agile methodology can be a powerful tool for organizations seeking to improve their project management processes and foster a positive team culture that prioritizes the well-being of its employees.

Positive Impact of Agile Methodology on Employee’s Mental Health

In recent years, the  Agile methodology has become increasingly popular in project management. Agile methodology focuses on iterative, collaborative, and adaptive work processes that prioritize customer satisfaction and efficient team communication. While many of the benefits of Agile methodology are related to project outcomes, this approach to work can also have positive impacts on employee mental health. 

In this article, we’ll explore some of the ways Agile methodology can support positive mental health outcomes in the workplace.

The Impact of Mental Health in the Workplace

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 1 in 4 people globally suffer from mental health issues, with workplace stress being a significant contributor.

Mental health issues like stress, anxiety, and burnout can lead to decreased productivity, low morale, and high employee turnover. In fact, according to a study by the World Health Organization, depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion each year in lost productivity.

The importance of mental health in the workplace cannot be overstated. Investing in employee mental health can lead to better productivity, higher job satisfaction, and reduced absenteeism and turnover. This is where Agile methodology can make a positive impact.

The challenges of workplace stress and its impact on mental health.

As said above, Workplace stress can come from a variety of sources, including long hours, tight deadlines, shift changes and difficult coworkers or supervisors.

Prolonged stress

Prolonged exposure to workplace stress can lead to a range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and burnout.

Burnout

Burnout is a particularly insidious form of workplace stress that can cause physical and emotional exhaustion, detachment, and feelings of ineffectiveness.

Health Consequences

Workplace stress can also have physical health consequences, including high blood pressure, heart disease, and a weakened immune system.

The impact of workplace stress is not limited to the individual employee; it can also have ripple effects on team dynamics and organizational performance. Organizations that fail to address workplace stress can suffer from increased absenteeism, turnover, and decreased productivity. 

One of the biggest challenges of addressing workplace stress is that it can be difficult to identify and quantify. Employees may be hesitant to speak up about their stress for fear of repercussions or stigma. Nevertheless, it is important for organizations to take proactive steps to address workplace stress, including creating policies that promote work-life balance, offering resources for mental health support, and fostering a positive team culture that prioritizes employee well-being.

Impact of Agile Development Methodology on Employee’s  Mental Health

Agile methodology can positively impact employee mental health in a number of ways. For example, Agile teams prioritize clear and consistent communication, which can reduce stress and anxiety caused by misunderstandings and confusion. Additionally, Agile methodology promotes collaboration and collective responsibility, which can help employees feel supported and valued in their work.

Another way Agile methodology can help support mental health is through its focus on iterative progress. Agile teams set small, achievable goals and track progress regularly. This helps to avoid the overwhelm of larger projects and can reduce stress and burnout caused by unrealistic expectations.

How can Agile Methodology reduce workplace stress?

Agile methodology approach emphasizes flexibility, collaboration, and rapid response to change. It is built on a set of values and principles that prioritize people over processes and encourage continuous improvement. This approach can have a positive impact on employee mental health by reducing stress and promoting a more positive work environment.

Here are some of the key features of Agile methodology that contribute to these benefits:

I. Collaborative Approach

Encourages close collaboration between team members, with an emphasis on communication and shared decision-making. This approach can help to build a sense of camaraderie and support among team members, which can in turn reduce feelings of isolation and stress.

II. Flexibility and Adaptability

Agile methodology is designed to be flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances. This means that employees can adjust their workloads and priorities based on evolving needs and feedback. This approach can help to reduce feelings of overwhelm and frustration by giving employees more control over their work.

III. Continuous Improvement

Prioritizes continuous improvement through ongoing feedback and evaluation. This approach can help employees feel more engaged and motivated in their work, as they are encouraged to share their ideas and suggestions for improvement.

Right Information at the Right time

Transparency plays a crucial role in Agile methodology as it allows team members to openly communicate with each other, share ideas, and provide feedback. When employees have access to the right information at the right time, they can make informed decisions that will help them achieve their goals. This level of transparency can also help to reduce stress and anxiety by creating a sense of clarity and understanding among team members.

Giving that “little” more control 

Empowerment is also a key component of Agile methodology. By giving team members more control over their work and allowing them to take ownership of their projects, they feel a greater sense of purpose and fulfillment in their jobs. This empowerment can lead to increased motivation, productivity, and job satisfaction, all of which are essential for maintaining good mental health.

Sense of Belongingness

When employees feel empowered and have access to the right information, they are better equipped to manage their workload and make decisions that will help them meet their goals. This leads to a greater sense of control over their work, which can help to reduce stress and anxiety. 

Additionally, when employees feel that they are part of a supportive and collaborative team, they are more likely to feel a sense of belonging and connectedness, which can also have a positive impact on their mental health.

Agile Tips to Improve the “Mental Health” of Teams

  • Start with a pilot project: 

Begin with a small team and project to test out the Agile methodology before rolling it out company-wide.

  • Provide adequate training: 

Make sure all employees understand the basics of Agile methodology and how it will benefit their work and mental health.

  • Encourage collaboration: 

Agile methodology is all about working together as a team, so make sure employees are encouraged to collaborate and communicate effectively.

  • Set realistic goals and expectations: 

Avoid setting unrealistic goals or putting too much pressure on employees, as this can cause unnecessary stress.

  • Use Agile tools and techniques: 

Implement tools like Scrum boards, daily stand-ups, and retrospectives to help streamline workflow and boost team productivity.

  • Foster a culture of continuous improvement: 

Encourage employees to give and receive feedback regularly, and use this feedback to continuously improve the Agile process and workplace environment.

The Conclusion

Look Beyond. Look into Prakya. A perfect Platform for Healthy Teams. 

Prakya means “Visibility”. And it stands by its words. While people and Corporate Industries have considered “Agile methodology” and “Agile Values” a debatable topic and feel difficult to implement because of their rigid values and adamant principles, I suggest you look beyond and see that there is actually “US” who can make this possible. 

Yes, Agile is rigid. But if we have to follow  a disciplined methodology to create that mental balance, which increases the wealth of your health and company, and keeps your customers happy, then why hesitate? 

Being a Unified Agile Platform. Prakya’s work ethics, agile principles and tools are commendable and in fact help the teams think and perform better without having to go through those mental challenges. If I say one more word about Prakya, then I will only be doing injustice with the inability of putting across its pros.   

 As its main customer, the healthcare industry, Prakya takes responsibility for making a positive impact on mental health with its Agile methodology.

To learn more or book a demo, please visit us at prakya.com.

 

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