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How to Improve Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace

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

What Can Employees Do to Improve Their Wellbeing in the Workplace?

The 9 to 5 isn’t easy. Many of us spend most of our day in the office, and work stress and following the same routine every day can take a toll on our mental wellbeing. And worse, the pandemic is adding to employees’ distress due to job uncertainty and financial stress amidst repeated lockdowns and general chaos.

This stress can impact employees’ productivity and job performance. Research reveals that workers’ poor mental conditions reduce their productivity, resulting in economic costs. According to a report, annual economic costs due to mental health issues in 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 dig a little deeper…

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 wellbeing in the workplace.

1.    Understand how mental health impacts your employees

According to JOEM, employees dealing with mental health issues can experience a significant loss of productivity, poor performance and lack of concentration, all of which negatively impact your business.

If a person is under constant stress, it also increases their chance of developing various physical diseases including 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. Look after your employees’ mental health by making sure your company’s health care plan includes coverage for mental health issues.

You also need to ensure that your employees have access to qualified mental health practitioners so that their problems can be diagnosed promptly and properly treated.

3.    Include an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in 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 have yet to introduce this type of wellbeing program, 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 and their mental wellbeing 

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 us feel embarrassed about any mental health issues and reluctant to seek help. Therefore, employers need to talk about mental health issues with their employees. Encourage them to speak out and explain to them the benefits of mental wellbeing programs such as EPA so that they may feel more confident to take advantage of such programs.

By arranging frequent workshops and seminars about mental wellbeing, employees will feel more comfortable about discussing any issues they are facing with 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, it’s important to have an open-door policy and keep employees informed about business developments and goals. Moreover, make sure the workplace environment is friendly and encourages employees to actively participate towards growing the company. 

Moreover, employers should encourage employees to engage in creative activities and help them learn new skills in order to boost their productivity.

6.    Show 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 it’s important 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 meet-ups with your employees where you talk about their interests and things they want to discuss. Acknowledge their hard work and show you appreciate their contribution. Listen to their needs and demands. These small efforts give your employees the message that you care for them.

7.    Allow employees to work remotely

Remote working helps employees to integrate their personal and professional lives, giving them peace of mind. According to a report, 73% of people feel that remote working has positively impacted their wellbeing, and it has improved professional development in 60% of people.

If you notice any symptoms that could relate to mental health issues in 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.    Provide flexible work 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 workers’ schedules 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 workers to have some time for self-care and looking after themselves, generally. Tough schedules can contribute to burnout, impacting workers’ mental health and productivity.

9.    Offer access to mental wellness apps and resources to promote mental wellbeing

There are various online mental wellness apps and programs that can help improve the mental wellness of your employees. So make sure you provide your employees with access to such resources if you want to improve workplace productivity and wellbeing.

You could provide them with access to platforms like DeRose Meditation that features various breathing, meditation and mindfulness exercises, given by experienced professionals who offer interactive one-on-one sessions and workshops to provide solutions for your employees’ mental wellbeing.

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 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, repurposing a quiet corner or a room that isn’t used much can serve the same purpose.

11.  Don’t limit employees’ vacation time 

Studies show that vacations can help ease depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues by reducing stress levels. Taking time off work to enjoy engaging in leisure activities can boost motivation and decrease the risk of burnout.

Bearing this 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 to relax their mind and body. You could even introduce a paid vacation policy. Alternatively, help your employees out by allowing them to work remotely when they need a break.

Happy and relaxed employees will be more productive at work, eventually increasing your bottom line.

What Can Employees Do to Improve Their WellBeing in the Workplace?

As well as implementing the tips shared above, employees’ wellbeing can be improved further by encouraging them to implement the following practices.

  • Validate your feelings and feel ok about feeling 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, ideally eight hours or more, 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 essential nutrients
  • Exercise regularly, even if just 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 

Conclusion

Mental health is as important as physical health. People with tough working schedules face more stress, and are more prone to being the victim of mental health issues.

However, employers can increase workplace productivity and efficiency by taking care of employees’ mental wellbeing. So maintain a healthy workplace, validate your workers, and exercise the tips shared above to increase your employees’ mental wellbeing and thus, your company’s bottom line.

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