Discuss, Don’t Disguise: Why Corporate Health should be Commonplace in the Workplace
On October 10th, Mental Health Ireland hosted a string of events across the country to help raise awareness surrounding all issues mental health related. In keeping with such an important topic, this week’s blog discusses how the cultivation of corporate health is key in maintaining an effective and inclusive workplace.
One of the newest and most topical issues for businesses to address in 2019 is undoubtedly those concerning employee welfare and mental health advocacy in the workplace. No longer is the traditional stigma or taboo shirked on topics surrounding depression or anxiety. We are living in an age where it is more ‘normal’ to discuss such issues than it is to disguise them, where open dialogue is gradually becoming the norm and where workplace well-being yields nearly as much value as do salaries and perks. The result of such changes mean that it is of the upmost importance for senior management to adhere to this newfound trend and advocate for mental health and wellness plans in the workplace.
In a time where open discussion regarding all aspects surrounding mental health has become a societal norm, there is no disputing that corporate health should be at the forefront of every company’s agenda. In a study conducted by the National British Council, it was found that “perceived overall comfort has a positive correlation with perceived change in productivity” proving that there is a direct correlation between productivity, growth and employee well-being. The implementation of issues surrounding inclusivity, diversity, open communication, employee engagement, health and wellness are not only interlinked, but are crucial if companies seek to grow and retain talent. In a candidate competitive market, employers need to be creative when it comes to on-boarding mandates concerning well-being. Ultimately, the ideal employee is a happy employee.
Creating, curating and honing a transparent mental health culture can spearhead and solidify the success and continued growth of an organisation. Individuals who themselves are constantly trying to fit into a corporate mould can occasionally find themselves in a state of discomfort and unease. Couple a lack of acknowledgment with a lack of guidance and you are faced with an uninspired and under-appreciated workforce. It is for reasons such as these that employers should always pay attention to the warning flags of stress. Employee Assistance and Counseling Services are one example of effective and discreet services made available to individuals reluctant to draw attention to their struggle. Similarly, through promoting healthy eating and lifestyle within the workplace and advocating for open discussion among working teams, corporate health need not be an arduous task to implement. Considering the multiple benefits it will yield for all individuals, regardless of level of seniority, on-boarding a programme to facilitate stress management is highly beneficial for those who choose to get involved.
Despite what senior management might believe, the on-boarding of mental health mandates and implementation of services can actually be executed seamlessly. Simple approaches such as encouraging dialogue between juniors and seniors can make inclusivity an effortless task. By taking a step back, bridging the gap between professional and personal and getting to know your employees on a more personal level, the corporate health and culture of a workforce can be greatly improved. Simply displaying that management care about their teams can allow for people to feel valued and enlightened. This in turn can ignite creativity and boost full involvement with co-workers and projects alike.
It is indisputably important to help shed the stigma that, up until recently, was too easily associated with mental health advocacy, both within and outside of the workplace. With the sudden eagerness of organisations to stand out as inclusive and socially aware communities, retaining talent and honing a productive workforce can only be achieved through a demonstration of care giving and social awareness. After all, “A healthy outside starts from the inside”.
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