“Stress reduction & mindfulness don’t just make us happier and healthier, they are a proven competitive advantage for any business that wants one”
– Arianna Huffington
Editor-in-chief | The Huffington Post
What does the World Health Organization say?
From 2016 to 2030 12 billion workdays will be lost every year due to mental health issues. Accumulated costs to the global economy will be $900 billion.
The epidemic is real, and it’s growing. In the US alone, mental health issues cost the economy a whopping $190 billion a year. Despite the growing problem and the potential costs, many companies are not doing enough to address the issue. Many current corporate wellness programs place huge emphasis on physical wellness and pay little to no attention to improving employees’ mental well-being.
The stigma associated with mental health issues also mean that employees are unwilling to face up to potential problems and mental illnesses often go un-diagnosed.
Demolishing the Stigma
Breaking down mental health stigma is all about removing negative assumptions about the problem. Communicate to your employees that mental suffering is a real problem just like any other health problem you would seek help for. Improve attitude towards the issue by openly emphasizing how much the company values employee mental health.
Consider holding mental health seminars to raise awareness. Employee engagement firms such as wellteq offer mental health themed programs infused with gamification, educational features to de-stigamise and bring the issue to the forefront.
Creating a safe environment
Many people are unwilling to face up to a mental issue at work because there is fear of not knowing what will happen if they do, fear of colleagues finding out, fear of isolation, and worst of all, fear of losing their job. Employees need to feel safe about asking for help.
Bring to their attention all resources available, including hotlines, articles, videos and specialist help. Emphasize how people seeking help can expect total confidentiality.
Zero Tolerance to
Workplace bullying can be described as the deliberate and repeated abusive behaviour directed at a co-worker. Victims of workplace bullying can experience intimidation, hostility, threat, sabotage, isolation and verbal abuse.
Such disruptive behaviour cannot be allowed to exist even in it’s slightest form. Implement a zero tolerance policy towards office bullying by making clear to employees what constitutes bullying behaviour and the consequences for offenders.
Identify risks and warning signs
Feeling sad or stressed is part of normal life and it can be hard to distinguish those feelings from a true mental problem. Train managers and supervisors to be observant of vital signs, which can include:
- – Mood swings and anger prone behaviour
- – Uncharacteristic withdrawal and self isolation
- – Declining productivity in familiar or regular tasks
- – Lapses in memory, concentration and logical thinking
Re-evaluate Workloads and Timelines
Employees often take on additional workload and projects without complaining to impress their bosses. Unfortunately, employers sometimes fail to recognise that these are often performed beyond regular bandwidth.
From time to time, re-evaluate your employees’ workloads, projects, timelines and priorities. Make sure they are receiving the support and encouragement necessary to foster mental health and productivity at the same time.
Everyone likes a pat on the back and be told that they are doing a good job. Regularly bringing individual accomplishments to the attention of the office makes employees feel recognized. The euphoric sense of having one’s achievements amplified and publicly acknowledged can be a fantastic counter to a hard day’s stress.
Besides creating a sense of belonging, individual validation and positive reinforcement, think about how to reward employees’ accomplishments in more tangible ways such as bonuses or awards.
Emphasize Work Life
Every boss loves a hard working employee, one who goes above and beyond regular hours to complete tasks, but don’t forget that employees don’t bring their home problems to the work place, so there’s no reason they should be bringing work issues back home either.
The best way to deal with mental stressors sometimes is to completely step away from them temporarily. Give your employees enough breathing space away from work to focus on their personal lives. Consider implementing occasional “family time”, letting employees leave office 2 hours early to go home to their families.
Are you ready to improve workforce mental health and positively impact business profitability
Let us help you start a great mental wellness program
- Learn how to implement the most effective employee engagement program for your workforce with Vital Time’s diverse range of solutions from consultation to programing, we will devise a strategy to improve your teams mental health!
- 877.569.MIND ext: 5454
- 877.569.MIND ext: 5454