Some stress is normal, but when it becomes chronic and unmanaged, it can be debilitating. This not only hurts employee well-being but also costs employers a lot in lost productivity.
33% of workers indicate that they always, often or sometimes miss work because of stress.
Tip: Create a stress management program that covers a new kind of stressor every month. For example, focus on financial stress one month, relationships the next and career obstacles another month. The key here is to provide actionable stress management strategies employees can use in their daily lives, both in and out of the workplace.
While everyone knows the effect nutrition has on the physical body, the link between gut health and mental health is often overlooked. Your diet directly links to the hippocampus — the area in your brain that influences learning, memory, and mental health.
In fact, research suggests that dietary improvements are effective in treating those who experience major depression.
Showing your staff how to improve their eating habits can directly improve employee well-being, in terms of both physical and mental health.
Tip: Host live cooking demonstrations with a nutritionist during the team’s lunch hour. Employees can participate by helping with basic meal prep and asking questions.
Also, consider taking your employees out of the office to a local cooking class instead of the traditional Happy Hour. This way, employees get one-on-one time with the cooking class instructors. Plus, it’s a much more relaxed environment, and employees can bring their spouses.
Exercise is another vital aspect of improving employee well-being. Not only does exercise help your staff manage their weight and improve their physical wellness, but also it provides many mental health benefits.
Physical exertion increases substances like dopamine, endorphins, and BDNF to reduce stress, improve mood and regulate depression-like behaviours. Regular exercise provides relief over time, and it can even prevent mental health conditions.
Many studies have found a link between depression and exercise with a recent study finding that those who don’t exercise 44% more likely to develop depression, compared to those who exercised a minimum of one to two hours per week.
Tip: Start exercise groups in your workplace tailored to specific fitness goals, like weight loss and strength training. This way, employees can hold each other accountable and provide peer support.
Just as poor sleep increases the likelihood of health risks like depression, a good night’s sleep can have a positive impact on mental health.
Tip: Designate a quiet space in your workplace where employees can retreat to relax and recharge. Keep the lights low and soundproof the room, if possible, so they can escape the hustle of the workday. Maybe also consider meditation groups for your staff as well.
Encouraging rest during the day has a positive impact on performance.
To truly help employees, mental health awareness and education needs to be a year-round initiative. Start by creating awareness campaigns for every month and schedule events around them. Then, distribute educational content, like a monthly newsletter, that aligns with the theme.
Centre each theme on a specific aspect of the season. For example, for the first month of winter, raise awareness about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a mild form of depression that is prevalent during winter. Align these themes with relevant national campaigns, like Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Use these campaigns to promote employee well-being initiatives and benefits that can help employees address their mental health conditions. A mentally-healthy employee is a happier, more productive one.