Businesses who Balance Mental Health & Wellbeing of their Employees will be the Real Winners
by Kathy Heath
Wellbeing in a post COVID world
As we steer towards a new normal, the world is still ever changing and nobody knows what this new normal will look like. There are and will be winners and losers in all of this which in turn has a major impact on our mental health on a constant basis.
As the vaccine rolls out and restrictions are lifted, many companies will be reassessing what this new normal means for them from a financial and performance perspective. But the CEO’s and business leaders who incorporate and balance the mental health and wellbeing of their employees will be the real winners. Throughout all of this, mental health has barely been addressed by our own government so why is it so important for business leaders?
The COVID effect
For the vast majority of us who have not contracted COVID, the long term effects are still being felt. A sense of exhaustion is upon us for various reasons – 6 months of balancing childcare and work with no support earlier in the year, constant changes in regulations need to calculate our own risks driving consistent anxiety, worry over our loved ones contracting the disease and financial impacts with many people facing reduced salaries , business turnover or job losses. The COVID effect has in one go wiped out a key element of resilience which is an internal sense of CONTROL.
Engagement drives productivity
A key element to many successful companies is employee engagement which drives productivity and overall company performance.
Often the root to engagement is an alignment of values and goals between the individual and the employer. COVID and the approach to risk management has seen a shift and sometimes misalignment in those values. If employers force employees back to an office environment without considering this, there may be an immediate disconnect and negative impact on mental health through increased stress and anxiety and long term impact on their personal lives. This is likely to push many people out of the comfort zone they have been able to live with, and into the panic zone resulting in chronic stress & anxiety. This needs careful consideration and alignment with line managers to realign values, understanding the perception of risk in order to reinstate a sense of control in order to limit stress and drive positive mental health. This in turn will drive productivity.
Wellbeing will be key to success
The biggest advice for employers is to handle with care and caution. Blanket rules may seem obvious however a more consultative approach may be a more sensible option based on employee values and attitudes and where they currently sit on the mental health continuum.
Top tips for success
Business leaders would also do well to formalise a wellbeing strategy going forwards by offering proactive support to prevent mental health issues by:
• Finding a way to track and measure the wellbeing of the workforce
• Offering a proactive way to educate on what makes up our mental health and offering education to build a bespoke plan to promote positive mental health including
• Teaching self understanding & self awareness to identify what makes up and influences an individual’s mental health
• Fostering a growth mindset across the organisation
• Educating and promoting resilience
• Teaching stress management techniques including mindfulness, meditation
• Promoting and demonstrating a work/life balance,
• Educating on the importance of physical health on mental health (nutrition, exercise, sleep management)
• Offering support & education on financial management
This content, wrapped up with executive sponsorship, alignment with company values and goals integrated into the HR process accompanied with a great communications plan will truly transform and futureproof any business’ performance in a post COVID world.
Generation Healthy Minds