In honour of World Mental Health Day earlier this month, we are looking into the impact of mental wellness in the workplace and provide a few action items every organization can take.

“Mental illness is a leading cause of disability in Canada. Every week at least 500,000 Canadians miss work due to mental illness, and the resulting personal, workplace and economic impacts can be devastating.”

According to the CMAH World Mental Health, Review and Recommendations.

Poor mental health in employees can cause a host of issues for their employers:

● Organizations lose profits

● Teams become overwhelmed

● Productivity decreases

● Retention and recruitment are impacted

In other words, a sick employee can weaken a whole team.

7 must-haves to enhance employee wellbeing:

Survey your organization:

Employers are responsible for engaging employees in finding out how they are experiencing the workplace and what adjustments need to be made to provide the appropriate support.

Before organizations can develop a strategy to address wellbeing in the workplace, employees must be consulted for feedback.

What is working, and where are the gaps? This information will be critical in developing a wellness strategy. Become data-driven and stay data motivated. Do this annually for even better results.

Wellbeing is not one dimensional:

Covid-19 brought mental health to the forefront as employees needed additional support and resources. However, wellbeing is not one-dimensional. In order to achieve true wellbeing all aspects of an employee’s health must be addressed: social, psychological, financial and physical.

Be sure to have robust programs plus health and medical coverage to support all the needs of individuals.

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion:

An organization’s wellness strategy must also target bias and micro-aggressions to truly shift company culture.

Although we have come a long way in terms of equity, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, the journey continues. The 2SLGBTQ+ community is at higher risk of poor mental health. A recent study found that 32% of 2SLGBTQ+ Canadians consider their mental health to be poor, compared to 16% of heterosexuals who answered the same question. (https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/210615/dq210615a-eng.htm)

Members of this community still find themselves not fully comfortable being who they are in their workplaces. Everyone has a right to come to work feeling safe and accepted.

A culture of wellbeing is where individuals feel safe to show up at work as their authentic selves. It is where employees feel valued and appreciated.

Consistency vs Intensity

In order to create real impact and change in organizations, choose consistency over intensity. Although the wellness retreat is necessary and provides many benefits, real results will come from focusing on incremental changes that stick.

How is your organization supporting individuals as they learn new personal skills? Answering this question is key in the long run.

Invest in your people:

“Improving the health and well-being of our employees makes good business sense.”

Steve Flanagan (Commercial Director, Bupa)

According to Alberta Family Wellness Initiative, every dollar invested in workplace mental health has a return of $1.62, rising to a return of $2.18 for programs that have been in place for three or more years. Mental illness and poor mental health has a direct impact on the bottom line.

By providing employees with the support and resources they need, organizations are not only creating healthier workplaces but also protecting their bottom lines.

Psychological Safety & Wellbeing:

Psychologically safe workplaces are spaces where team members can feel safe to trust each other, speak up and take risks. It is directly tied to workplace wellness and employee wellbeing.

Where psychological safety is present, teams or individuals can regulate their emotions, communicate them effectively, and, as a result, are better able to manage stress and conflict.

© Mindfulicity 2022

Understanding the Why:

Mental health problems are expected to be the source of more than 50 percent of all disability claims administered over the next five years, exceeding even heart disease. Overall mental wellbeing plays a significant role in the success of individuals at home and at work.

Enhancing employee wellbeing not only creates a sustainable and productive team, but it also drives business results in the long run. That’s what we call a win-win. Organizations Win. Employees Win.

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