For people to do their best work, they need to be well-rested, live a healthy lifestyle, and maintain good mental and physical health. Unfortunately, many people sacrifice their personal well-being for the sake of their job.
While that might sound good from an employer’s point of view, the fact is that someone who is burned out and feeling completely overwhelmed isn’t likely to be very productive. In the long term, poor wellness and mental health in the workplace can lead to high turnover.
Employers can make a big difference in their employees’ mental health and well-being. By implementing policies that support these important aspects of employees’ health and creating a culture of balance, companies can help decrease stress and avoid overwork, encourage healthy habits, and create a positive environment that lends itself to improved work-life balance and team bonding.
How the Workplace Affects Employee Health
Almost everyone wants to do a good job at work, especially since finding a job you enjoy sometimes feels like the most daunting challenge of all. Because most people are eager to do well in their office and will spend a lot of their time there, workplace conditions can have a big impact on employees’ mental health.
Stress, communication problems, and overwork can strike even people who enjoy their jobs. That’s why it’s so important to be proactive about employee health in the office. Both physical and mental health affect job performance and satisfaction. Employers who encourage their workers to put in eighty-hour weeks on a regular basis and stock the office with sugary snacks aren’t doing their employees—or the business—any favors. It’s important for business leaders to be proactive in ensuring a healthy work environment.
Employers Can Set the Stage for Mental Wellness
Employers need to realize that they can take the initiative and help everyone in their organization enjoy improved wellness and mental health. As workplace leaders, employers directly contribute to conditions in the workplace. Managers and supervisors can make all the difference when it comes to employee behavioral wellness.
Mindfulness, which may be considered a “trend” is actually an important component of mental health. It is a heightened state of awareness for the present moment and can help people avoid mental health issues like anxiety and overwhelming stress.
Employers can help set the stage for mental wellness by offering perks like yoga and gym benefits, healthy snacks and meals, flexible time off, and even meditation or massage in the office. Creating an office culture that prioritizes wellness and mindfulness can help everyone in the workplace improve their mental and physical health.
Mental Wellness Improves the Bottom Line
It’s easy for business leaders to justify cutting costs in order to improve the bottom line. But adding costs? That’s a much harder sell. Many of the perks that improve mental wellness in the workplace can add up quickly. But the return on investment can be huge, improving the bottom line much more than penny pinching.
Happier employees are more productive. If they work fewer hours, they’ll usually make those hours far more productive and spend more time at work focused. Plus, mental wellness contributes to lower healthcare costs and reduced turnover. The old saying “you have to spend money to make money” definitely applies when it comes to employee well-being.
Medicine Isn't the Only Path to Wellness
We live in a medicated society, but prescription and over-the-counter drugs aren’t always the best choice for managing our health and comfort. In fact, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration attributes 980 annual deaths to simple over-the-counter aspirin. Today, experts are finding that natural remedies and preventative measures are often better options than these drugs.
Employers who encourage mindful exercise like yoga or tai chi, or practices like meditation may find they have fewer employees calling out sick. Swapping out candy and cookies for more healthy options can also help get employees on the path to wellness without harmful drugs. Creating a culture of wellness is a process, and it pays to be proactive.
Employers Need to Take the Lead
While everyone has their own personal responsibilities for their health and well-being, employers also have the responsibility of taking the lead and encouraging healthy habits. That might include adding benefits or giving the office kitchen a healthy overhaul. It might mean giving people an hour in the middle of the day to go to yoga class—or hosting it at the office to promote team bonding. Regardless of the how, it’s up to employers to help their employees lead their best lives.