Mental Health at Work: The Forgotten Factor
Your employee wellness programmes might cover everything from diabetes to obesity but an often-forgotten factor is your employees’ mental health.
Your Magic Ingredient: Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is defined as the “extent to which employees value, enjoy and believe in what they do” (Bhatia, 2006). According to Gallup, engaged employees are those who show passion and dedication, willingly putting in extra effort to accomplish company goals.
Companies with an engaged workforce perform better and show lower levels of turnover and absenteeism.
However, there are a number of factors that prevent employees from being truly engaged and a forgotten factor is your employees’ mental wellness. Depression, anxiety, stress and more are debilitating illnesses and people who suffer from the same often find it difficult to function to the best of their abilities and follow their daily routines.
The impact can be seen in:
- A sharp decline in motivation
- Poor relationships with colleagues
- Lowered levels of job satisfaction
- Increased absenteeism
- A reduction in productivity and output
- Increased healthcare costs borne by employers
How Can Mental Health Interventions Drive Engagement?
Driving employee engagement might seem like an uphill climb, but all it takes is a few simple steps.
(1) Show them you care
It all begins with showing them that you care. Employees need to feel supported in order to be productive. Holistic programmes that ensure that each employee receives the help and support they need, go a long way in driving engagement.
(2) Make healthy lifestyle habits a priority
In the rat race, everyone forgets to prioritise simple activities that prevent and protect from mental and physical illnesses. Wellness programmes not only encourage healthier habits like eating on time, exercising and more but also teach life skills like healthy coping and effective problem solving.
(3) Challenging negative thoughts
A stressful and competitive workplace can be a hotbed of self-doubt and negativity. Getting employees to challenge these negative thoughts and replace them with more positive, helpful ones can go a long way in helping them develop confidence and
(4) Make support accessible and convenient
Wellness programmes are hardly useful if employees won’t make use of them. It’s important to pick programmes that consider your employees’ work-life schedules. Online programmes allow people to access help and support at any part of the day. These programmes also allow users to create and track goals to practise healthier habits regularly.
What Are My Options?
A healthy workplace might not be the ultimate solution to every problem, however it is an important step in the right direction. There’s no magical solution to your employees’ mental health concerns however, interventions that encourage healthier lifestyle habits and work on challenging negative thoughts can go a long way in helping them cope with difficulties at work and outside it.
References: Bhatia, S. K. (2006). Human Resource Management : A Competitive Advantage (Concepts, Strategies, Challenges). Deep & Deep Publications. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.in/books?id=1vVz0EZXK5cC
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