Today has been designated National Workplace Wellness day by Ibec, and we are apparently the only country in Europe to have this kind of recognition of employee wellbeing. The event is in its fourth year and last year over 500 companies signed up to events in their workplace. However, in some workplaces, employee well being is still largely around promoting exercise and good nutrition. Wellness is much broader than this and whilst the focus has widened from smoking cessation groups and lunchtime walks, there remains much work to be done around engaging staff in realistic and relevant wellbeing initiatives.
Many, many people are sitting in front of their desks feeling stressed and anxious and would really benefit from a broader employee wellness strategy. Some of the difficulties in engaging people around their mental health are partly obvious. There is still a stigma and reluctance to admit vulnerability and that you may not be coping that well. On one stress management day I facilitated, no one in the group admitted to feeling stressed when asked. I waited a little longer for a response and it transpired that their Director was in the room and so they didn’t see it as appropriate to admit being stressed! There are statistics of course around the prevalence of mental health issues in the workplace but I don’t believe these to be accurate as mental health like physical health is something that affects everyone. We all need to mind our mental health and find ways to cope with stresses and life difficulties and get support when we need it.
Sometimes it can be hard to identify that there are mental health and wellness issues in the workplace. Things can seem fine on the surface and sometimes Managers don’t wish to “rock the boat”. But often stress and anxiety are hidden and not something employees will easily.
What are the benefits of a workplace wellness strategy which includes mental health?
Staff will be:
more supported and therefore more engaged in what they are doing.
better able to cope with stress in their work and personal lives.
performing more effectively and efficiently if practicing self-care.
working better as a team as they have opportunities to address team working/culture.
The programs I offer are devised in conjunction with key personnel. They take a holistic view of health and recognize the value of good physical health as well as psychological and emotional. It’s clearly the way forward in terms of better workplaces, especially since the overlap between our personal and work lives is becoming increasingly blurred. Employees generally give generously to their work lives and companies will reap the rewards in terms of investment in these programs.
If you’d like to discuss your workplace needs get in touch for a free consultation.
Happy workplace wellness day!
Monica Haughey Psychotherapy & Consultancy “Helping you and your workplace thrive!”