The environment of work and how people work have changed tremendously over the years. The industrial revolution popularized shift work and fixed working schedules that have stuck ever since. Today the 40-hour workweek is the gold standard for a full-time position.
While the work schedules have remained fairly similar in the past century, the type of work people do has changed tremendously due to advances in technology and the creation of new business sectors. During the industrial revolution, the nine-to-five shift for the average joe most likely required some kind of manual labor that would be a clock in and clock out.
Today the nine-to-five typically encompasses a complex work environment that can often blur the lines between where the workplace begins and ends. The workplace looks very different than what it once was and you have a combination of in-person, remote, and hybrid workers all under the same company.
The sad part of some large businesses is that they assess their employees through metrics and not as individuals. In some instances, employees can even go months without seeing or being noticed by their boss. For employees in large corporations, it can be easy to get lost in an unhealthy mindset and feel deindividualized. These feelings subsequently affect performance and when combined with others feeling the same way, could make or break a business.
Bringing awareness to mental wellbeing into the workplace is a great way to give added benefits to your employees while also subsequently helping the business through increased productivity and motivation of employees to perform well.
What is mental wellbeing?
Mental wellbeing is an aspect of wellbeing that focuses specifically on your social, psychological, physical, and emotional health. Mental wellbeing is just as important as physical wellbeing and can dictate many aspects of your life. How you perceive a situation, how you react to challenges, and the ways you cope with stress all are impacted by your mental wellbeing.
Why is mental wellbeing important in the workplace?
Businesses for a long time have traditionally done without promoting health and wellness. On the surface, it would make sense that businesses wouldn’t want to invest money into the well-being of others.
In reality, these additional resources actually can improve the business by improving many different aspects of employee satisfaction and quality of work.
Below is a detailed look at the many benefits of having mental health promotion for both employees and employers.
Productivity is a measure of how much a person can accomplish in a given amount of time. Being more productive means that time is being utilized to its fullest potential, which can give employees peace of mind at the end of the day knowing that they worked to their fullest potential. For employers, this also means that they are getting the most bang for the buck.
Being productive is easier said than done and a preoccupied and clouded mind can significantly hinder productivity. Productivity is about blocking distractions and utilizing your skills, energy, and time to its greatest potential.
If employees are in a poor mental state dealing with excessive stress or outside problems they are much less likely to utilize their time wisely and are more likely to be preoccupied with other things.
Employees are an indispensable part of any business. The effort it takes to interview, hire, and train can be immense. This investment put into a new employee is recovered over time and is why employee retention is important. It takes much more time, energy, and resources to rehire than it does to implement programs that aim to keep employees around.
A mental wellness program at a place of work can make employees feel valued which can have a large impact on job satisfaction and their likelihood to stay employed. On the flip side, an employee that doesn’t feel valued is likely to jump ship at the sight of another opportunity since they have nothing keeping them.
The metric of performance is measured differently depending on the specific job. For accountants, getting a quarterly report out early can be a sign of good performance while a recruiter’s performance may be based upon how many people they hire. While the measure of performance varies based upon occupation, mental wellbeing can significantly impact an employee’s capability of performing well.
Ability to work collaboratively
Social health plays a large role in mental wellbeing. When people are in mental turmoil it can be difficult to effectively communicate or listen with fellow coworkers. Many industries require a tight-knit line of communication between employees and poor mental wellbeing can drastically hinder the ability of effective communication in the workplace.
Areas like healthcare require verbal handoff of information on a daily basis and supporting healthy wellbeing amongst workers is a great way to help ensure lines of communication do not break down and vital bits of information are not lost in the transition of care.
Ways to promote mental wellbeing in the workplace
With the added complexity of working situations and the nature of work being performed, it has become more important than ever for businesses to take an active role in promoting a healthy work-life balance and good work environment.
Promoting health from the workplace can be difficult to implement. Understanding the scope of a workplace health promoting service takes a seasoned health education specialist to implement correctly and in a way that yields the most benefit to employees.
Workplace health promotion
Workplace health promotion is a tailor-made program that aims to give employees resources, classes, or a safe space. These programs aim to give employees an easy and convenient way to seek outside assistance with items like mental wellbeing, physical activity, and diet.
A workplace health promotion program tailored for mental wellbeing may include classes in yoga, meditation, or interest groups that can meet to do things outside of work that are fun and engaging to people within the group.
Facilitating a safe work environment
Work can be a large source of stress and mental hardship and a company should try its best to create a positive work environment. A positive work environment should consist of teams of people that work together to bring one another up and accomplish milestones.
A great working environment will allow employees to get excited about their work and not have to worry about work and negative coworkers being a source of stress and anxiety.
In addition to the work environment, a business should emphasize a culture that promotes work-life balance across its employees. Many industries like tech are notorious for requiring employees to work well past normal working hours.
While occasional overtime may be a part of the job, continually requiring employees to work during off-hours sends a message that their time is not as important as the companies.
To promote healthy mental well-being businesses should start off the bat by setting clear expectations and ensure employees have a work-life balance.
Ways to promote mental wellbeing at home
While promoting mental wellbeing at a business level is undoubtedly beneficial, at the end of the day employees should also take the time and energy to facilitate a healthier and happier mind. Much like physical wellbeing and fitness, mental wellbeing requires persistence and for you to stay committed to see true change.
Below are a few ways that you can promote a healthier mind mental well-being to allow you to focus more on the tasks at hand and more on what’s important.
Having good nutrition is a great way to improve your overall well-being. Quality nutrition consists of getting all of the nutrients and molecules your body needs to support growth, proper functioning, and perform well.
The brain is incredibly complex and needs a number of molecules to fuel it and allow it to work to its best potential. While you obtain many essential nutrients through your diet, getting a tailored supplement like MitoQ Brain can ensure that your brain is supported and has all the support it could possibly need from a cellular perspective. A nutritionally supported brain is a happy brain and having quality nutrition can help improve mental wellbeing.
Meditation is a practice of mindfulness that focuses on centering attention to the current moment. The business of life is often a contributing factor to a clouded and preoccupied mind. Meditation forces people to slow their thoughts and appreciate the present moment and the things happening in the now.
From a mental well-being perspective, meditation can be a great way to re-center yourself throughout the day when you feel like things are getting hectic. Whether it be the stresses of work or stress at home, taking the time to meditate can give you a new perspective and could allow you to feel less overwhelmed.
Exercise is important for your physical health, but it is also important for your mental health. Humans have evolved through thousands of years to be active creatures. Sedentary lifestyles are becoming more of a norm and all this sitting around mixed with stress can be detrimental to your wellbeing. As a general rule, you should stand up, sit less, and move more.
Getting exercise is a great and natural way to get a quick dose of natural endorphins while also giving you an outlet for stress. The positive impacts of exercise are far-reaching from improving circulatory health to helping with your mental wellbeing and self-concept.
Mental health is always important and walking into work is no exception. Mental health is incredibly important at home and in the office. Employers should take the initiative to ensure positive mental wellbeing is a part of their work culture. Not only will employees work better, but they will also be more willing to work and have greater job satisfaction. Employees should also take the initiative to take care of themselves to best support their health and mental wellbeing.
Reviewed by: Kai Man Yuen/ BSc., PGDipSci., MSc.