Wellbeing In The Workplace

Mental health and wellness has been put at the forefront of our daily lives more than ever with everything that happened in 2020 and 2021. Add in the extreme stress from a global pandemic, a massive shift to remote work, and often times, homeschooling, and you've got a recipe for a mental health crisis for just about anyone. So what does wellbeing in the workplace look like as we push forward and work to create healthy atmospheres with happy, productive employees? It's a multi-tiered approach that includes soliciting employee feedback, keeping open lines of communication, and having leaders who can connect with employees on a deep level. It also includes opening up the conversation surrounding mental health, and truly prioritizing health and wellbeing at work.

Mental Health in the Workplace

To understand how to help promote health and wellbeing at work, it's important to understand how your employees' mental health affects not just their morale and productivity, but your organization as a whole. It hasn't exactly always been a standard practice to support employees and work to improve mental health at work, but post-pandemic, it should (and is) become more commonplace. 

BetterUp, a career and life coaching platform, shared what mental wellbeing in the workplace encompasses, stating that five key takeaways on mental health are the following:

  • Mental health is more than the absence of mental illness
  • You can’t have physical health without mental health
  • Mental health aids in coping with stress
  • Human performance and mental health go hand in hand 
  • Workplace wellness must be a top priority

Taking all of this into consideration, it's essential to offer mental health support to your employees in order to promote health and wellbeing at work. It isn't simply to address mental illness, but to support overall workplace mental health and wellness in the workplace. This could include a number of different options, but offering access to support coaches, online therapy programs, and even "mental wellness tools" like the Calm or myStrength apps, could all be beneficial to your employees' mental health.  Mental health issues among your workforce aren't always visible, and it's just as important to address mental health conditions as it is to support physical wellbeing. It's essential we destigmatize things like mental health disorders, and recognize that addressing mental health is a critical part of healthy living as a whole.

Managing Work Stress

After a tumultuous few years, it's understandable that employees are going to be feeling a certain amount of stress. Whether it's adjusting to a remote/work-from-home position, or maybe even returning back to the office post-pandemic, stress levels are high. It's important to acknowledge that first in order to promote workplace wellbeing. If your leaders are actively engaging in dialogue with team members and forming deep connections with them, they should be able to get a good gauge on the stress levels on an individual level, and also in the workplace overall. 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to managing stress, since what negatively impacts one person is not what will cause stress for another. This is why maintaining open lines of communication between team members and supervisors at all levels is critical. Your organization can implement flexible working hours, allow employees to take mental health days, and discounts on physical fitness - passes to local gyms or wellness centers can help employees tremendously. YourWellSpace shared a recent piece on the benefits of physical exercise on mental health, including reduced stress, better sleep, and improved mood. Your supervisors can start by maintaining communication with their teams, while doing their best to provide the form of stress relief that aligns with each person. This focus will have a tremendously positive impact on company culture while creating more productive employees long-term.

Emotional wellness is essential to managing stress. Remote working employees are still the norm in a post covid-19 workplace, but just because they aren't in your physical environment, doesn't mean you can forget to consider that burnout and overwhelm still happen in a remote position.

workplace wellbeing

Workplace Wellbeing, in a Pandemic?

Naturally, you may be wondering how it's possible to promote health & wellbeing at work in the midst and (and, hopefully, the aftermath) of a pandemic. Using all of the tips provided above, it is not just possible but absolutely necessary to focus on employee mental health and wellbeing, even in a pandemic!

Your leaders can take this time to strengthen workplace communication, implement internal social media channels to continue conversation and connection - even remotely - and work to promote an inclusive workplace where everyone feels their voices and opinions are heard, valued, and respected. The pandemic brought about many new leadership challenges, many of which have to be overcome simultaneously. However, it's an opportunity to provide your managers and supervisors (and even executives) with the tools they need to connect with their teams and move your organization forward.

Your organization can also offer wellness and wellbeing programs to your employees whenever possible, whether directly or indirectly through a benefits package. This is a great way to also boost employee engagement; employees want to know you care about them and are willing to take the extra steps to help them in more ways than just during work hours.

According to Healthcare.gov, a wellness program is defined as "a program intended to improve and promote health and fitness that's usually offered through the work place, although insurance plans can offer them directly to their enrollees. The program allows your employer or plan to offer you premium discounts, cash rewards, gym memberships, and other incentives to participate. Some examples of wellness programs include programs to help you stop smoking, diabetes management programs, weight loss programs, and preventative health screenings."

Let's work together!

Would your organization benefit from leaders who are more connected with their employees? Do you need to engage your employees and achieve organizational goals? It's never too late to get started, and we're here to help. Click here to get started.

Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

Diversity and Inclusion have become buzzwords in the past year, but it's more important than ever to strengthen your D&I strategy. Your organization must feel comfortable turning challenges surrounding these issues to opportunities for learning and growth. For a great conversation on the topic of D&I in the workplace, you can listen to this ProjectHR podcast episode with Katie Van Horn, the CEO of VH Includ=d, which is a consultancy committed to changing the world by creating awareness of the need for equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Your Diversity & Inclusion strategy needs to be central to your overall organization and culture, rather than a separate initiative. A diverse workforce where uniqueness is championed and everyone feels heard and respected should be a major goal for every organization. We've covered what your D&I strategy should include in-depth, in this article, if you need some help revamping yours or getting started.

Compassion is Key to Being an Employer of Choice

Servant leadership is based upon the idea that you should serve others; your employees, your teams, etc., with empathy, compassion, and integrity. In addition to this being a great way to help your organization and business thrive, it's a key piece to promoting health and wellbeing in the workplace. When your employees and teams feel supported by leadership, they are more productive, employee morale increases, and everyone benefits.

Becoming an employer of choice is all about successfully recruiting and retaining employees, but it includes so much more than that. It involves every aspect of the employee experience: the hiring process, the organizational culture, opportunities for growth and development, and the health and wellbeing that exists in the workplace. These are all within your realm of responsibility as an executive or HR professional, to an extent. Of course, nothing happens overnight, but intentionally working to improve workplace culture and the employee experience takes small actions and implementation that compounds over time.

health and wellbeing in the workplace

Wellbeing Contributes to a Motivated Workplace 

Motivating workers can be a difficult directive - difficult to implement, and difficult to measure. But A Better Leader will help you address an element of motivation that's been proven to inspire employees to new heights - and it's something that's easy to measure: Workplace Health & Well-Being.

Here's what your leaders will learn with our "Health & Well-Being" training from A Better Leader:

  • The Five Essential Elements of Well-being
  • The Components of A Successful Wellness Program
  • The Benefits of Workplace Wellness
  • Steps they can take to inspire a culture of health and well-being for their team, with or without a company-wide program

Here's a preview of what this training is all about!

We're here to help your organization move forward, and we're only a click away! It's never too late to implement leadership training that works, especially in challenging times like those we've all faced during the current pandemic. Click here to chat with our team of experts and get started!

About the Author Walter Orechwa

Walter is Director of IRI's Digital Workplace Solutions Group, and the founder of A Better Leader. Walter provides expert advice, highly effective employee communication resources and ongoing learning opportunities for Human Resources and Labor Relations professionals.