Home » Employee Mental Wellness: What More Needs To Be Done?

Employee Mental Wellness: What More Needs To Be Done?

by Kartikay Kashyap

?Companies need something more than an EAP programme to drive a culture supporting employee mental wellness.

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Employee mental wellness is a much-discussed topic at the workplace since the pandemic. As a result of working remotely during the lockdown, employees experienced work-related stress and burnout. As per a Deloitte survey, 80% of the Indian workforce reported that they are suffering from mental wellness challenges. In fact, the survey also revealed that 47% of respondents were suffering from work-related stress.?

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A number of companies have taken steps to address the issue of mental wellness in the workplace. There were some companies that already had Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) in place. However, companies without an EAP programme implemented one to aid their employees.

?Apart from an EAP programme, an employer needs to do more. They need to holistically tackle the issue of mental wellness in employees.

What is an EAP programme?

?An Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is a workplace-based program that offers employees services and resources to address personal and work-related issues. The issues could include such stress, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, financial difficulties, relationship problems, and family issues that may negatively impact their productivity, health, and well-being. In most cases, employers or third parties provide it as part of their benefits packages.

?The services offered by an EAP can vary depending on the needs of the organization and its employees. Typically, they include confidential counselling and referral to resources for a variety of personal and work-related issues. Common issues addressed by EAPs include.

?EAPs can offer a wide range of services, including counseling services provided by licensed professionals, online resources such as articles, videos, and webinars, legal and financial counseling, and other support services. EAPs can also provide crisis management and intervention services to help employees deal with traumatic events or critical incidents, such as accidents, violence, or natural disasters.

?Overall, EAPs are a valuable resource for employees and employers alike. They provide a wide range of services and support to help employees manage the various challenges of work and life.

?Why do we need to tackle mental wellness?

?There are various reasons to take into consideration the emotional wellness of employees. Poor mental health of employees can have several negative impacts on a company. These impacts include decreased productivity and quality of work, increased absenteeism and presenteeism, higher turnover rates, increased healthcare costs, and decreased employee morale and engagement. It can also lead to a toxic work environment, which can further exacerbate mental health problems and cause additional issues for the company. Addressing and improving employee mental health can have a positive impact on the overall well-being of the company and its employees.

?Improved productivity: Employees who are in a healthy state of mind are more productive, engaged, and motivated. They are better able to focus on their work and are less likely to be absent from work.

?Cost savings: By promoting mental wellness, employers can potentially reduce these costs. As per a McKinsey study in the US, mental wellness issues cost the economy $1 trillion. ?

?Impact on physical health: An unhealthy state of mind can have a significant impact on an individual’s physical health as well, such as an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions. Addressing mental wellness can, therefore, have a positive impact on physical health outcomes.

?Social responsibility: In addition to legal and ethical responsibilities, companies have a broader social responsibility to promote the health and well-being of their employees.

?Competitive advantage: Employers that prioritize mental wellness can attract and retain top talent since job seekers are increasingly looking for employers who provide a supportive environment.

?Positive company culture: Prioritizing mental wellness can foster a positive company culture, where employees feel valued, supported, and encouraged to speak up about their mental health concerns.

??Enhancing employee mental well-being at work

?Having an EAP programme is a positive step towards coping with mental wellness challenges at the workplace. However, companies must go beyond having an EAP program.

?Encourage open communication and create a culture of support: This involves normalizing conversations around mental health and encouraging employees to speak up when they are struggling. This can be achieved by creating a safe and non-judgmental environment, training managers and leaders to recognize and respond to mental health concerns, and offering resources such as an employee assistance program or mental health support groups.

?Provide resources: Employers can offer a range of resources to support employees’ mental health, including mental health benefits such as therapy and counseling services, access to mental health apps, and mindfulness programs. Additionally, managers and leaders can receive mental health training to recognize signs of mental health issues in employees and provide support.

?Create mental wellness communities : Organisations can have a dedicated employee resource group or a community/group of like-minded people who understand the cause of mental wellness at the workplace. These people will share a similar passion for building a culture that supports mental wellbeing. The community can assist the organisation in its mental wellness efforts. Companies can also partner with virtual engagement platforms. These platforms provide features and benefits of implementing virtual community groups of like-minded employees.

?Promoting work-life balance: Employers must support employees in achieving work-life balance. They can offer flexible schedules, remote work options, and paid time off for mental health concerns. It sends a message that mental health is valued and prioritized. This way companies can help reduce the stigma around taking time off for mental health reasons.

?Encouraging physical activity: Physical activity has been shown to improve mental health, reduce stress, and increase overall well-being. Employers can promote physical activity by offering gym memberships, and hosting fitness classes. They can encourage employees to take a break and step outside for a walk during the workday.

?Reducing workplace stress: Employers can reduce stress by setting clear expectations. Employers must provide regular feedback and address conflicts and issues in a timely manner. They can also offer stress management training or programs that help employees manage stress. In addition, they can create a supportive work environment where employees feel comfortable seeking help if they need it.

?Encourage mental health and wellness services/products through Flex-Ben : Many progressive companies have implemented flexible benefits for employees. With flex-ben employees have the flexibility to pick and choose their benefits from multiple ranges, which includes employee wellness services. Companies can encourage employees to choose wellness benefits for themselves and their families. ?

?Promoting a positive and inclusive workplace culture: Employers can promote a positive and inclusive culture by creating a workplace that is free from discrimination and harassment. Companies should foster diversity and inclusion and promote social connections among employees. This can be achieved through team-building activities, social events, and by creating a sense of community within the workplace.

?Providing opportunities for learning and growth: Employers can provide opportunities for learning and growth. They may include training and development programs, mentoring, and job rotations. This can help employees feel engaged and fulfilled in their work and can contribute to overall mental well-being. By offering opportunities for growth and development, employers can demonstrate a commitment to their employees’ success and well-being.

?By implementing strategies and prioritizing employee mental health and wellness, companies can create a supportive and healthy work environment. It benefits both employees and the organization as a whole.

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