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The CEO Magazine
A monthly magazine for business leaders and decision makers

MENTAL WELLNESS: CRUCIAL FOR CORPORATE

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MENTAL WELLNESS: CRUCIAL FOR CORPORATE

Corporate organisations, today, are focusing on helping their employees manage their health better by adopting corporate wellness programs inclusive of clinical improvement initiatives around certain measures such as blood pressure, Body Mass Index (BMI), cholesterol, glucose, and smoking cessation.

While these measures, once achieved and maintained, can help prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and other illnesses that increase healthcare costs for employers, mental health is not usually a focus area in the most corporate wellness programs.

Mental health and emotional health are not as easy to be measured like physical health via tests like blood pressure but it may affect an employee’s health and lead to the same or severe outcomes like any physical health disorder or disease, the focus on ensuring mental health in the corporate world needs to be increasing.

Ensuring happy and satisfied customers is every company’s mission; however, employees are a key part of it. The unhappy or unfulfilled employees tend to have poor interpersonal relationships, commitment to the organization, and not a sense of meaning or purpose among the parts of their job.

WHAT LEADS TO POOR MENTAL HEALTH?

With work norms like long working hours or employers discouraging employees from taking earned vacation time, the employees are not left with opportunities to find a healthy work and personal life balance in their lives, which may leave them feeling stressed out, discouraged, angry, and unhappy. There can be other reasons in a corporate environment that may directly or indirectly lead to undermining one’s emotional wellness.

EFFECTS OF POOR MENTAL HEALTH IN THE ORGANIZATION

Poor mental health caused by stress at work or poor management of work and personal life can lead to various symptoms of depression affecting their efficiency. Productivity loss, absenteeism, job abandonment, and higher turnover are directly linked to poor mental health.

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BENEFITS OF GOOD WORKING ENVIRONMENT ON EMPLOYEES

A working environment inclusive breaks, allowing good interpersonal relationships with a co-worker and other features of good working space helps in:

  • Boosting employee productivity
  • Allowing the employee’s brain to recharge
  • Sharpen his/her focus
  • Reduce stress
  • Eliminate boredom
  • Improve brain function
  • Boost employee morale
  • Allow time to process and retain information
  • Prevents burnout

 ENSURING BETTER MENTAL HEALTH

  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP): Employers are focusing on mental health as a part of the corporate wellness programs that are already in place ensuring that employees have access to mental health benefits including an employee assistance program (EAP). The programs are highly useful as they provide referrals to mental health professionals and other services while maintaining strict standards of confidentiality.
  • Talking about Feelings: What employees and employers can do to ensure a healthy working environment for employees is to ensure that they can talk about their feelings. Having an open mind and a corporate space where one does not feel difficult to talk with colleagues or the manager.
  • Being Active: Being fit and active is essential to stay confident and boost self-esteem along with better concentration power. While some jobs are physical or require a lot of physical exertion like construction and teaching, the chances of injuries increases and that affect mental health. Working in an office setting, on the other hand, one should ensure that they are including time for fitness in their busy lifestyle.
  • Eating Well: Diet contributes to a crucial part of how one feels both immediately and in the longer term. In a busy and stressed environment with deadlines, it can become hard to keep up a healthy pattern of eating at work.
  • Drinking sensibly: Drinking can become a crucial part of corporate culture. One might resort to things like alcohol when in stress due to the interpersonal relationships at work or a rude manager. Whether the reason is personal or professional, one should realise the effects that alcohol has in short as well as long term. One might behave in a way they should rather not behave in and feel the anxiety in medium to long term.
  • Taking a Break: While many corporate allow their employees with mental health days, discretionary leave to look after one’s well being, one can avail them. One can also take short breaks at work to ensure they are not always loaded with work on their mind. One should also ensure a good night sleep and listen to their body to deliver the best at work.

Before implementing any mental health programs, every employer should have a complete assessment of their organizational culture. One should acknowledge the cultural drivers that influence people’s resiliency and their ability to be emotionally well at work.

ADVANTAGE TO BOTH EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES

While these programs are helpful for employees to ensure managed workplace stress levels and overall mental health, they also benefit the employers as they are at a significant advantage over those who do not provide such benefits. These employers are likely to have lower incidents of job burnout, onsite violence, and workplace injury.

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