Mental Wellness in Companies

According to World Health Organization (2017), one in five people are likely to experience mental health problems in the workplace. The research for the treatment of mental disorders has increased significantly over the last 15 years; however, most people are still reluctant to seek treatment for their mental wellness. This reluctance stems from the fear of being discriminated against in the workplace. This was proved in a mental health survey conducted by Business in the Community (2017) which revealed that 15 percent employees faced demotion, disciplinary action or dismissal after admitting a mental health problem.

Poor mental health can lead to disturbances in physical health conditions. The work of the employee is affected mentally and physically. Thus, it should be the role of the organizations to ensure the psychological wellbeing of its employees.

It is a well-known fact that positive mental strength plays a significant role in the working environment.  Organizations that create the right environment for their employees have a positive impact on the employees’ health, wellbeing, job satisfaction and productivity levels. Many studies have concluded that acknowledging and working towards mental wellness in companies is important for the business itself. It increases levels of creativity, innovation, engagement in job and achievements of the employees (Alvi, 2016).

The American Psychological Association (2018), proposed five factors that can create a healthy work environment for employees; work life balance, health and safety, employee growth and development, employee recognition and employee involvement.  Happy employees who are satisfied with their job stay motivated and give productive results.

Employers need to empathize with their employees and acknowledge the fact that employees cannot function at their maximum capacity throughout the entire day. Thus, breaks should be allowed to refresh the mind. The employers must maintain a balance between the job tasks given to employees and the family obligations of these employees. Moreover, healthy social interactions with co-workers and supervisors should be encouraged. In this way, the concerns of both the organization and the individual are addressed.

If an organization does not consider the mental wellness of its employees, it’ll reduce their morale and commitment to work. Employees’ engagement and level of creativity within the workplace is influenced by the immediate environment. The rate of errors will decrease, and their performance will increase if they are mentally satisfied with the job roles.

Employers must do more for the mental wellness of their employees as poor mental health can cost their businesses significantly. Employees start losing focus which causes an increase in absenteeism and a decrease in productivity levels in the workplace.

Industry sectors such as finance and technology are extremely competitive. The competition becomes stressful for the employees leading to the development of mental disorders. A way to combat the rise of mental disorders is by introducing mental wellness programs for the workers. The mental wellness programs serve to be the first point of contact for employees suffering from mental disorders who are otherwise reluctant to speak directly with their colleagues and supervisors.

These programs should be specifically designed to help the workers cope with anxiety, stress, depression etc. Thus, the mental wellness program will help them relax and blow off some steam from all the work. Moreover, line managers should be given training on how to recognize the psychological wellbeing of their employees and managing and sustaining it.

To achieve mental wellness in organizations, employers and employees should start by working towards changing the workplace culture. Approximately one-third of the lifetime of a Pakistani factory worker and office staffer is spent in the workplace. This much amount of time can cause a drastic impact on the mental wellbeing of that person (Mansoor, 2017). The workplace should enhance the wellbeing of its employees by focusing on their mental and physical health. The needs of the employees should be addressed and entertained. The company should foster a support system among the colleagues and supervisors in which the employee can complete the job requirements through help and support of others. In this way, the employees will feel secure and comfortable.

With a mental wellness program in place, the psychological aspects of each of the employees would constantly be assessed and responded to by the supervisors as per the specific needs. The workers would also feel motivated when their employer invests in their mental well-being, leading to productive results for the organization from these workers.

Lastly, organizations should take measures of preventing mental disorders from developing in their workers. This can only be done through increasing the mental health literacy and reducing the stigma related to mental health in the workplace. In this way, diagnosis at an early stage can help the employees seek treatment before their mental health starts debilitating and affects their work life and personal life.

Acknowledging and improving the mental health of workers is a win-win situation for an organization as it increases profits and reduces suffering on an individual level. Hence, companies should work towards promoting mental wellness in their organizations.

Fatima Nayyer recently graduated from Institute of Business Administration with a Bachelor’s in Social Sciences and Liberal Arts. She majored in Psychology and is currently working as a Policy and Development Trainee at Pakistan Business Council.