Learn why a healthy work culture is important

We’re in the new year now and one of the top workplace wellness trends for 2023 is ‘focusing on mental wellbeing at work’ and rightfully so. In the past few years, mental health has emerged as a new focus area for employee well-being driven by the rapidly increasing number of people experiencing mental health conditions due to stress and poor lifestyle choices. Globally, there was a 13% rise in cases of mental health and substance use disorders between 2007- 2017 mainly due to demographic changes, says the World Health Organization.

According to a study published in 2015, moderate to severe burnout among the workforce in global companies was found to be between 25-75%. A 2018 Gallup report highlighted that companies with moderate to severe employee burnout had a 376% decrease in engagement, an 87% decrease in retention, and a 22% decrease in work output.

How do we deal with this elephant in the room? How do we create a workplace that promotes the mental well-being of all employees? Speaking openly about mental health at work to destigmatize it can be a critical first step.

Prakriti Poddar, Global Head of Mental Health and Wellbeing, RoundGlass, noted in an interaction with ABP Live, “More than 75% of employers acknowledge that there is stigma around mental health in their workplaces, but they do not prioritize destigmatization as a wellbeing strategy. It is of paramount importance. Destigmatize talking about mental health because stigma creates shame around seeking care, which discourages people from seeking medical help when they need it most.”

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“Smart, responsible HR managers and executives understand that mental well-being is not something that happens outside of work. The organizations that thrive today are those that put the well-being of their employees at the center of their decisions, and take steps to reduce burnout and promote healthy workplaces. In fact, the RoundGlass Workplace Wellbeing Survey 2020 found -2021 found that out of 400 companies surveyed in India, 34% provided employees with access to counselors and 61% organized awareness events to manage stress, anxiety and depression.”

While workplace wellness programs have been around for a while, the covid pandemic has put a heavy emphasis on them. “Today, it is no longer a perk, but rather a basic employee expectation that helps organizations retain talent,” she added. She also suggested some ways to enable mental well-being at work.

Removing the stigma from discussing mental illness at work

Employees often fear that discussing mental illness at work may negatively affect their development prospects and even strain their social bonds. But if leaders come forward and talk about their personal struggles with mental illness, it will help cultivate a culture of acceptance and motivate employees to come forward, talk about their own experiences, and seek help. Managers must reassure employees of the integrity of their health information.

Educating and training management towards mental illness

Managers can be trained to recognize early signs of mental illness so that they can assist employees in seeking medical resources in a timely manner. Creative activities such as plays can be used to provide guidance on how to listen without judgment, provide reassurance and assess the risk of suicide or self-harm.

Adopt a holistic approach to wellbeing in the workplace

To create a truly happy and productive workforce, improve engagement, and positively impact the company’s bottom line, HR managers and executives must address employee well-being with a holistic approach. This means looking across the eight dimensions of well-being – physical, emotional, financial, occupational, social, societal and planetary. They can use any number of tech solutions such as apps and web platforms to deliver holistic employee wellbeing as well as help them connect with their communities and the planet. Prakriti Poddar further suggested some wellness practices to get employees to start:

  • Meditation and mindfulness: the most rigorous studies Showed that regular practice leads to lower levels of stress, anxiety, and pain. Encourage employees in these practices through meditation apps, customized webinars, wellness challenges, or face-to-face sessions with experts.
  • healthy foodThere are deep links between well-being and food. Eating seasonal and locally grown foods, following plant-based diets, and eating mindfully can all help you stay healthy and happy.
  • Being effectiveEncouraging employees to lead an active lifestyle that includes daily cardiovascular activities or yoga, standing at intervals at the work desk and taking frequent breaks from sitting while working can help them feel physically and mentally fit.
  • RepeatEducating employees about their community and inspiring them to volunteer, raise money, help for a cause, etc. can help them feel fulfilled emotionally and socially.

Companies that focus on the overall well-being of their employees truly value them as people and want them to thrive at work and beyond.

Provide access to mental health resources

Mental well-being operates on a range of severity where people can be healthy or mentally ill, just as it can on a group of healthy or sick people. There are many original online mental health resources such as apps now available that are set out to help by providing resources and guidance for improving successful mental function, relationship fulfillment, work productivity, and resilience at work and the stresses of life. Leaders and managers can enable employee access to these resources as well as offer health insurance that covers mental illness.

Creating a business culture with luxury at its core

When employees are satisfied at work, productivity increases by 13%. Employees feel appropriately compensated and happy at work when they have a better work-life balance, flexible working hours, and timely appraisals. However, experts are now debating the “significance” of the work.

Dr. Vivek Murthy, Surgeon General of the United States, mentioned the “importance of work” as one of the “fundamentals” to employee mental well-being in his report, Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace. “People want to feel like they matter to the people around them and that their job has an impact on the lives of others… Knowing you matter reduces stress, while feeling like you don’t can increase your chances of getting depressed,” according to the December 2022 report.

In this ever-changing and, at times, unpredictable economy, HR managers and CEOs must maintain an unwavering commitment to employee well-being. To secure the mental health and well-being of all employees, they must focus and integrate their efforts into all aspects of wellness. In the long run, this will lead to significant benefits for both the individuals and the company.

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