More and more business leaders are recognising that healthy, engaged, and happy workforce is the key to boost productivity and improve performance. Owing to which, employee wellness is one major concern for leaders worldwide. In general, employee’s health is often measured by their active attendance, on-the-job performance, work quality, and morale. The truth is, employee wellness encompasses more than just physical health.
It goes beyond physical well-being, to include overall employee wellness – mental, social, and financial health. While physical, social, and financial health can be observed directly and measured with numbers, mental health is rather difficult to measure and monitor. Such as for example, you might think that your employee is doing perfectly fine because, he comes to work on-time, delivers great performance, and has good relationship with coworkers.
Little did you know, he secretly suffers from an anxiety disorder. No wonder, among other aspects of wellness, mental health is often overlooked by leaders.
In a recent research conducted by Willis Towers Watson, employers worldwide cited stress as the foremost workplace issue, followed by other lifestyle risks such as obesity, lack of physical activity, and poor nutrition. The survey also notes that 90 percent employers from Asia Pacific show commitment to health and productivity (H&P).
However, while the majority agree H&P being the core component of organisation’s overall health strategy, only 33 percent organisations have an articulated and structured H&P strategy. This finding accentuates the fact, that it is imperative for employers to sketch out concrete initiatives that will help employees cope with work-related stress, anxiety, and depression.
While mental disorders might seem like subtle and conceptual matters, copious studies have proved this to eventually affect employee’s physical health and well-being. When leaders fail to recognise and address this alarming issue, the organisation has to pay significant cost for lost workplace productivity, high absenteeism and presenteeism, as well as increased medical costs.
When not treated and addressed appropriately, even the slightest mental disorder could lead to negative impact on employee’s physical wellbeing as well. Therefore, it is crucial for employers to be proactive in fostering inclusion on mental wellness benefits at the workplace. Below are several ways you can do to prioritise employee mental health:
Encourage your employees to adopt work-life balance. This is one of the best ways to improve mental wellness. Oftentimes, stress and depression are caused by employee’s inability to juggle between heavy workloads and demanding personal life. There are many ways employers can help the workforce to achieve this balance. Such as for example, you can offer flexible working hours, an option to work remote, or even allocate more paid time-off for vacation. This will help employees to have a sense of control in their lives, which in turn will make them feel happy and healthier.
You have to make sure that your employees feel supported mentally at work. Besides offering physical insurance benefits, you should cover mental health benefits as well. For example, you can include counselling and assistance with professional psychologists in your health benefit package. Through this method, employees will get help to stay healthy mentally.
Inclusion on mental wellness benefits in itself is not enough to ensure the success of your health initiatives. It is crucial to seek within the organisation and improve the workplace culture.
If you find that there are negative attitudes and behaviours of employees practiced in your organisation, you should address this growing problem and eliminate such practices. Implement an honest and open communication channel between co-workers and management, such that employees feel comfortable to voice out their concerns.
There is no doubt that mental health is closely associated with physical well-being. To achieve healthy mental state, employers should encourage employees to adopt healthy lifestyle. For example, you can offer free membership to a local gym to promote more physical activity and exercise. Or, you can offer healthy lunch discounts for employees who show good attendance.