Ways to promote mental well-being at the workplace

A person spends approximately 6 to 10 hours at their workplace. Even after coming back home, people sometimes bring back a piece of their workplace. Therefore, it is very easily imaginable how much, a toxic workplace environment can affect a person’s emotional and psychological well-being. Most employees complain that their jobs are the Number 1 source of stress in their lives. Even though it was not of prime concern for employers before, recent studies and researches have shown that a mentally healthy employee is better at their job, have high productivity and engagement. This in turn saves billable hours on the part of the employer to correct mistakes (which maybe the result of a mental illness or emotional disturbance that the employee is facing because of the work environment). Moreover, a happy group of employees lead to a more enriched work space which invites better applicants as well.

However, the prime importance for promoting mental well-being in work place is to lead a happy life. Exactly the way an employee demands fair pay, healthy working conditions and other benefits in a workplace, they should demand a workplace that is good for their mental health as well. Some of the reasons why one should do so are –

  1. Apart from harming the mental well-being, a toxic work environment also harms a person’s physical heath. If they are too stressed out because of their work they may get body aces, migraines and stomach upsets. Over a prolonged time it may lead to development of chronic ailments.
  2. A person will look forward to going to work if the work environment is healthy. Otherwise they might find it hard to even get up in the morning to go to work.
  3. A person’s productivity will improve by leaps if they look forward to going to work and actually enjoy the company of their co-workers, with whom they have to engage every day.
  4. A person will be able to continue working at a single place for longer and won’t have to change companies.
  5. It is a human right to demand a safe and healthy workplace. Harassment, bullying or abuse is not just wrong but illegal and actionable.

All these might be common knowledge but the real question that should be asked are, “How this mental well-being should be promoted in a workplace.”

1. Help employees de-stress other employees.

One of the best ways to improve employee mental wellness is by helping employees talk openly about mental health. Identifying the issue and letting it be an acceptable topic of conversation – removing the taboo around acknowledging work-related stress – can create progress by itself, helping employees realize they aren’t alone. 

2. Talk about mental health openly.

Companies should not shy away from talking about mental health in the workplace. They should conduct seminars and workshops that promote and teach people about a healthy emotion and psychological mental state.

3. Encourage physical and emotional activity.

Employees should be encouraged by their employers to indulge in physical activities like sports or dancing etc. during their free time. When leaders introduce, and are involved in, workplace health challenges, incentive programs, and overall wellness programs not only does employee health improve but also there are marked healthcare savings, and increases in productivity and morale. 

4. Provide mental wellness resources.

There are many such programs created by various mental health companies and professionals. Consult with them for the betterment of your employees and companies.

5. Encourage employees to take mental health days off. 

If an employer still requires their employees to provide a doctor’s note or otherwise “legitimate” reason for missing work, it might be time to stop. Part of preventative health involves giving both the mind and body a break every now and then, and allowing your staff to miss work in order to recharge can help them stave off more serious health issues down the road.

6. Pay attention and be ready to help. 

If one does notice an employee behaving differently (ex: irritability or low mood), they shouldn’t hesitate to ask them if everything is alright. Even if they tell that they’re fine, remind them that there is help and access to assistive resources.

7. Prioritize confidentiality and anonymity. 

Even though mental health might be normalized in your workplace, some people might still feel uncomfortable discussing it, particularly if they struggle with addiction, trauma, or suicidal thoughts. Reassure your staff that their privacy is your top concern, and that their use of mental health resources will never be monitored or tracked.

8. Promote a work/life balance.

Without a healthy work/life balance, productivity is likely to decline, and employees are more likely to burn out. Insist employees take regular vacations where they are able to unplug from the office. Encourage everyone to develop a rich, full life outside of the office. People who engage in hobbies, spend time with loved ones, and take time to care for themselves make better employees.

9. Provide an employee assistance program.

Counselling and support offered by EAPs is the first step many companies take towards greater corporate wellbeing.

10. Show you care as an employer.

 It is important to remember the human factors that make your employees a much better alternative than a machine. Value that part, take care of it. It will be beneficial to all parties in both short and long run.

Written by Rima Chowdhury

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