Picture this scenario. An employee working in an organization needs to take the daily commute to his office. It takes nearly two hours for the onward journey.
By the time he reaches his desk, he is already exhausted both mentally and physically. In addition, the organization’s working environment does not seem to support his mental health issues.
As he gets caught up in the activities of the day, stress and other mental health issues start to show up.
Organizations must realize that, along with customers and clients, employees are also its integral part. A workplace can turn out to be a nightmare for the mental wellbeing of employees if situations such as above, are not dealt with.
Hence, it becomes necessary that organizations take active measures to promote day to day mental wellbeing of employees in the workplace. Promoting better employee mental health would, in turn, lead to a better working environment. This should help in improving the productivity of the organization as a whole.
Now there are several ways and tools to incorporate mental wellbeing in the workplace. The most common ones among them are discussed in the article as follows,
Appreciation is one of the most powerful practices one can adapt to get into good mental wellbeing. Studies have shown that the simple act of being thankful and appreciative for all you have, can significantly improve physical and mental health.
Along with individuals, organizations can adopt this powerful practice in their workplaces in order to improve employee mental wellbeing. Some ways in which this can be done are,
- Encouraging employees to maintain a Gratitude Journal, where they are asked to write any 5 things they are grateful for. This should be done before they start their work for the day.
- Taking a step further, employees can be encouraged to send appreciation emails to fellow employees. This can include expressing gratitude for some contribution made by a team member in a project.
This can help develop a culture of social recognition among employees. Such a peer to peer recognition has proven to be a great driving force for employee engagement and enhances performance rate. It also helps develop mutual support and an environment of trust among the employees.
- An informal Gratitude Dashboard can be integrated into the internal social recognition platform of the organization.
Here the employees can post messages of appreciation and gratitude for fellow team members or anyone in the company as a whole.
This can be an exciting and fun way to improve the day to day mental wellbeing of employees.
Social Activities and Volunteering
Taking part in social activities and volunteering can also act effectively to improve the mental health of employees in the workplace.
A study shows that people who performed volunteering activities for more than 200 hours per year have a 40 per cent decrease in hypertension and high blood pressure.
Therefore, social and volunteering activities should be made a mandatory objective by organizations to improve employee mental wellbeing.
- Organizations can conduct weekly volunteering activities for employees, where they can render their services to various charitable organizations in the vicinity.
- Along with employees, the senior management can also take the lead in contributing actively to such activities. This would act as a huge boost in terms of boosting the overall workplace environment for mental wellbeing and trust.
- Employees can also be rated for taking active participation in these activities. Employee evaluation systems can include a performance measure such as “obtaining contribution points” which would be redeemable as rewards. This leads to incentivizing them for their services offered.
An important employee mental health issue in organizations is the uncertainty about the work environment and the nature of work.
Insecurity about the future and indefinite career progression may lead to unnecessary anxiety among employees.
In such a scenario, it becomes very important for organizations to encourage employees to be mindful about the present moment.
Often times the mind is either in the past or in the future but is not fully present in the moment. This can be an early warning sign about mental health issues that can creep up among the employees.
A simple practice by which the organizations can encourage employees to adopt mindfulness is described below
- Sending scheduled emails at random points during the day to ask employees to take some time out of work.
- After that, they are asked to sit back and close their eyes, take a deep breath and bring their attention to whatever it is that they are feeling in the present moment and then let go.
Doing so would immediately calm the mind of the employees, thereby leading to better mental health.
Mindfulness apps, which create alerts from time to time, can also be employed by organizations to promote mindfulness among employees in the workplace.
Creating a Culture of Openness on Mental Wellbeing
The onus ultimately lies on the organization to create an overall working environment which encompasses all aspects of employee mental wellbeing.
Certain systems, if put in place, can effectively boost the day to day employee wellbeing in the workplace. Some of them which are worth mentioning are as given below,
- Conducting end-of-the-week informal meetings to check for mental health issues among employees.
If there are early warning signs, steps can be discussed to reduce or completely remove them. This can be done before the beginning of the next week.
- Organizing one-on-one training sessions for employees at definite points of time, where mental health problems are discussed. This should be carried out without any fear of the employees being judged.
The inputs so obtained are converted into a well-defined course of action. This can act effectively to address issues to improve employee mental wellbeing.
- Creating a culture of openness where mental health issues are openly discussed in the workplace without any hesitation.
An open culture, enabling employees to connect with each other and discuss mental health problems is to be encouraged. This would help to create a workplace for employee wellbeing to thrive in the long run.
- Employee achievements and successes should be shared with each other. An environment of kindness and mutual respect needs to be adopted in the workplace for employee mental wellbeing to follow.
Maintaining employee mental wellbeing in the workplace should figure as one of the highest priorities of an organization. Doing so will go a long way to ensure the appropriate mental health of employees and work-life balance in the workplace. This will, in turn, improve both employees as well as workplace productivity.