What Can Employees Do to Improve Their WellBeing in the Workplace?
9 to 5 isn’t easy. Your office is where employees spend most of their day, but work stress and the same routine every day can take a toll on their mental well-being. And worse, the pandemic is adding to employees’ distress as they are facing job uncertainty issues and financial stress due to lockdown situations amidst the chaos.
This stress and distress can impact the productivity and job performance of employees. Research relieves that workers’ poor mental conditions reduce productivity, causing economic costs. According to a report, annual economic costs due to mental health issues at the workplace in Canada are about 50 billion Canadian dollars.
In these scenarios, employers need to provide a healthy work environment to employees to promote their mental wellbeing and increase their productivity.
In this article, we’ll tell you how to improve mental wellbeing in the workplace, but first let’s learn…
The Difference Between Mental Health and Mental Wellbeing
Mental health refers to the psychological, emotional, and social wellbeing of an individual. It affects the way a person thinks or handles stressful events in life. On the other hand, mental wellbeing covers many aspects of personality such as managing emotions, expressing them wisely, dealing with people, and most importantly, feeling good about yourself.
How to Improve Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace?
Here’s how you can improve mental well-being in the workplace.
1. Understand how mental health impacts your employees
According to JOEM, employees dealing with mental health issues can experience a significant productivity loss, poor performance, and lack of concentration, hence impacting your business negatively.
If a person is under constant stress, it also increases the chances of various physical diseases like hypertension or cardiovascular issues.
2. Make mental health coverage a part of your health care plan
Mental Health Parity covers insurance for mental health issues and substance abuse. You have to facilitate your employees in terms of mental health by making sure your health care plan covers mental health coverage as well.
You also need to ensure that your employees have access to qualified mental health practitioners so that their problems can be timely diagnosed and properly treated.
3. Make Employee Assistance Program (EAP) a part of your organization
According to a survey conducted in 2019, 79% of employers have established employee assistance programs to support the mental wellbeing of their employees. If you haven’t established such wellbeing programs yet, now is the time to do it.
You also need to communicate with your employees about the program. And make sure that the plan is either free or pocket-friendly without any hidden charges.
4. Communicate with your employees about mental health
Although the stigma of mental health issues has reduced over the past few years, people are still hesitant to talk about their mental and emotional health issues.
According to Mayo Clinic, this stigma makes you feel embarrassed about your mental health issues and reluctant to seek help. Therefore, employers need to talk about mental health issues with their employees. Encourage them to speak their heart out and explain to them the benefits of mental wellbeing programs such as EPA so that they may feel more confident to avail themselves of such programs.
You can frequently arrange workshops and seminars about mental wellbeing to make employees comfortable about discussing their issues with the management.
5. Create a cooperative work environment
A healthy workplace allows employers and employees to collaborate in order to improve workplace wellbeing and sustain productivity.
“The simple act of paying positive attention to people has a great deal to do with productivity.”~Tom Peters, American writer on business management practices
So, you must have an open-door policy to keep employees informed about business developments and goals. Moreover, make sure the environment of the workplace is friendly that encourages employees to actively participate towards the growth of the company.
Besides that, employers should encourage employees to engage in creative activities and help them learn new skills in order to boost their productivity.
6. Show your care and empathy towards employees
“Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people to inspire and empower their lives.”~Oprah Winfrey
It’s the employer’s responsibility to protect their employees’ health, safety, and welfare. And you have to show your workers that you care for their wellbeing.
You can achieve this by establishing a healthy relationship with your workers. For instance, arrange casual meetups with your employees where you talk about their interests and things they want to discuss. Acknowledge their hard work and appreciate their contribution. And listen to their needs and demands. All these little efforts give your employees a message that you care for them.
7. Allow them to work remotely
Remote working helps employees to integrate their personal and professional life simultaneously, giving them peace of mind. According to a report, 73% of people feel that remote working has positively impacted their wellbeing and it improved professional development in 60% of people.
If you see severity in mental health symptoms of your employees, then allow them to work remotely until they feel better. The flexibility of working from any location will help reduce work-related stress in employees and improve their productivity.
8. Providing flexible working schedules
According to a survey by HR Dive, employees provided with flexible work schedules are 54% more likely to cope with stress in the workplace. So, don’t keep the workers’ schedule too tight and praise them wholeheartedly when they work over time.
“People today really value workplace flexibility and remote work because it allows them to focus their energies on work and life as opposed to commuting or other complications due to geography.”~ Ken Matos, Vice President of Research, Life Meets Work
Flexible working hours also allow the workers to have some time for self-care and self-grooming. Tough schedules could result in burnouts, impacting workers’ mental health and productivity.
9. Offer access to mental wellness apps and resources
There are various online mental wellness apps and programs that can help improve the mental wellness of employees. So, make sure to give your employees access to such resources if you want to improve workplace productivity and wellbeing.
You can give them access to simple breathwork exercises apps like Derose Meditation that features various breathing exercises and experienced professionals who offer interactive one-on-one sessions to provide solutions to the mental wellbeing of your employees.
10. Have a meditation room in the workplace
Studies show that meditation improves emotional intelligence and helps relieve stress in working adults.
Having a dedicated meditation room in your workplace is a part of modern workplace design. It helps the workers to practice mindfulness which improves their concentration abilities, lifts their mood, and calms their stressed nerves.
If you can’t afford to have a dedicated meditation room at your workplace, a quiet corner or a room that is not much used can serve the purpose.
11. Don’t limit employees vacation time
Studies show that vacations can help ease depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues by reducing your stress levels. Taking some off time from work to enjoy some fun activities can boost your motivation and decrease the risk of burnout.
Keeping that in mind, you shouldn’t limit your employees’ vacation time. Allow them to have a week off every three months or two days off every month when they could relax their mind and body. You can even introduce paid vacation policies. If not that, facilitate your employees by allowing them to work remotely when they need a break.
Happy and relaxed employees will be more productive at work, eventually increasing your revenues.
What Can Employees Do to Improve Their WellBeing in the Workplace?
Besides practicing the above-shared tips, employees can encourage their employees to improve their wellbeing by practicing the following things.
- Validate your feelings and feel ok about feeling the bad
- Practice mindfulness- accept yourself, live in the moment, meditate
- Don’t hesitate to share what you feel; talk about your distress
- Practice empathy and be kind to your co-workers
- Begin your day with a mindful morning
- Get enough sleep of eight hours to allow your brain to recover from the hectic workday
- Acknowledge burnout and take measures to prevent it
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet to make sure your body and brain is getting all the essential nutrients
- Exercise regularly, even for 15 minutes a day
- Engage yourself in healthy outdoor activities
- Be creative with your work. It reduces stress
- Laugh your heart out. Laughter is the best therapy
- Take a break to avoid burnout and other serious mental health issues
- Seek help and never be ashamed of your mental issues
Mental health is as important as physical health. People with tough working schedules face more stress, so they have a greater tendency to be the victim of mental health issues.
However, employers can increase workplace productivity and efficiency by taking care of employees’ mental well-being. So, maintain a healthy workplace, validate your workers, and exercise the tips shared above to increase the mental wellbeing of employees and thus, your company’s revenues.
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