There has been a drastic change in the office space of the 1960s to one which is now. The luxurious coworking space of today can match any business lobby of a five-star hotel. The chic décor, scientifically designed illumination, pleasing colours and facilities like gymnasium, salon, cafeteria, is all bliss. Enterprises are continually working towards improving their workspaces, all with just one aim, how to improve the comforts to an employee for higher productivity. However, the focus is only on the physicality of the office space. One major area, which remains a significant cause of concern is, how to improve the mental and emotional well-being of the employees, which indeed impacts the productivity across businesses.
Tania has been working as the Marketing Promotions Specialist in an MNC for nearly three years. As late as one year back, she was the darling of the company. Her marketing campaigns and national events were terrific and were acknowledged even by the CEO. However, since last year, her performance has been falling. The new marketing head has been very critical of her work and has many times openly reprimanded her for the quality of the work. Sleepless nights, persistent irritation, falling hair, weight gain were pointing towards just one thing, her failing mental health. Off late, every meeting with the Boss has been full of anxiety, confusion and sweaty palms. Despite all the Zumba, Gym and physical fitness regimes, the mental fatigue was ever-increasing; slowly, she was drifting into depression all related to the work.
Why is Emotional Well-Being Important?
Emotional well-being is critical for any employee to give his/her personal best at work. The mental health of the employees impacts productivity, which in turn affects the overall profitability of the enterprise. Emotionally healthy employees are engaged, resilient and kind. Such employees are relatively less stressed and more immune to stress-related diseases. Besides this, it also helps in reducing the health care costs of employees and related absenteeism.
Companies are now more and more focused on the mental well-being of the employees and calling in experts to run the well-being programs. Most of the employees live a sedentary life, sitting in front of a computer screen for long hours, doing little or no physical activity. Well-being programs can help minimise the impact of a sedentary lifestyle.
Mental health statistics in the workplace are getting more and more frightening. People are struggling to manage their mental health while more and more living a hectic lifestyle. Pressures of modern working life are proving a lot to handle; one in seven individual is suffering from mental disorders of varying severity. Anxiety and depression are the most common, as per a study in The Lancet Psychiatry. The WHO estimates that depression and anxiety cost nearly $ 1 trillion loss in productivity per year in the US.
Companies are gradually waking up to the importance of promoting emotional well-being. Companies now realise as to how vital it is for the employees to be mentally healthy to accomplish cognitively stimulating and challenging tasks, which simply means higher productivity.
5 Ways to Encourage Emotional Well-being in the Workplace
There are some simple ways through which emotional well-being can not only be promoted but needs to be sewed intrinsically into the fabric of a company.
Cultivate a sense of community and engagement
A company must take appropriate steps to create a sense of belonging among its employees. If the employees feel that they have a place in the broader context of the organisation, they feel more engaged. As per Greater Good Science Centre, University of California, Berkeley; Engagement is a "positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind." In other words, an engaged employee has a strong sense of "vigour towards, dedication to, and absorption in work activities." https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/
Role of the Leader in Emotional Well-being
Being human is the key to emotional well-being. A leader or the Boss contributes immensely towards the mental and emotional well-being of the employees. Not all the members are alike; the leader has the responsibility to understand the team individually and deal accordingly. It is the responsibility of the leader to provide clarity of role and expectations of the organisation to each member of the team. Business environments are constantly changing and these changes must be communicated appropriately to the employees. Only then will they be able to keep up with the constantly evolving requirements, without getting rattled or upset by them.
Not just open offices but open minds too
An organisation must try to create an environment where open discussions are encouraged around a subject matter for better mental and emotional health. Employees must not feel uncomfortable while sharing their struggles. Free flow of communication for every employee should be stimulated.
Promote work-life balance
Organisations and its leaders must encourage and promote Work-Life to the employees to maintain a healthy equilibrium between their personal and professional lives. The predominance of work may put the mental health of the employees in jeopardy.
Role of the leadership team.
It is the leadership team which steers the environment in any organisation. It is the they who set up the example for everyone else to follow. If the leaders themselves were consistently disregarding his mental health in favour of the work, then employees would feel obligated to do that as well.
The organisation and its leadership must prioritise the physical as well as the mental well-being of its employees at all times. More considerable attention and resources must be employed by the companies to make this vision a reality. Robust mental is not only good for the employees but also profitable to the business.