Research shows that Americans are facing a mental health crisis. At gThankYou, mental health wellness is close to our hearts. We hope to help organizations make strides in sustaining a safe, welcoming environment. It will be noticed and appreciated.
The Olympics has highlighted how pervasive mental health challenges are when even elite athletes are not immune. Michael Phelps reminds us in a recent article in support of Simone Biles that “…If we’re not taking care of both [physical and mental health], how are we ever expecting to be 100%?” True for all of us, not just the elite few.
As leaders of organizations, we need to understand the poor state of our country’s mental health at this time. Then we can offer ways to help. It’s that simple. Every employee experienced some level of uncertainty and fear that surrounded the pandemic. Current mental health struggles are often related to loss, isolation, or hopelessness. But we CAN collectively address these issues.
If workplace well-being isn’t on your priority list, now’s the time to put it on the top. Worksite wellness initiatives have been gathering steam for quite a while, but the pandemic wreaked havoc on health in a wide variety of ways. To truly appreciate your team members, be sure to provide a healthy environment where the whole being can thrive.
According to a recent report by Gallup,
“Organizations are responsible for the wellbeing of their employees — alleviating burnout is the right thing to do. And, it is essential for engaging and retaining top talent.”
Burnout is real. And it’s costly. Intelligent leaders are in-tune with the signs are offer ways to address the problem.
An article from SHRM states, “Unsurprisingly, employee burnout levels in 2020—the year of the pandemic—were high, with one major shift from previous years: Fully remote workers are now experiencing more burnout than onsite workers. Before the pandemic, the perks of working remotely—either part- or full-time—led to lower levels of burnout compared with employees who were onsite all the time.
“Burnout has effects on the micro and macro levels. If employees’ well-being suffers, they may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms. They may also become less productive and unfocused.”
Workplace well-being is THE priority to keep — if you want to keep employees.
Want to keep your employees during what’s being called by NPR and others as “The Great Resignation”? Not only is workplace well-being a driver of employee happiness and productivity, it helps employees cope with the effects of burnout. In addition, bedrocks of workplace well-being like fitness, healthy eating and financial literacy actively repel the stressors that cause burnout.
As we emerge from the challenging pandemic to some sense of normalcy at both work and in our personal lives, it’s an ideal time to check in on how we are speaking to ourselves. Many of us had extra time alone with ourselves during the pandemic and while some people seemed to flourish, many of us struggled with added loneliness, stress, grief, and anxiety. Often our own internal voice during this time was our toughest critic and harshest judge. The transition back to an office or to a job can be rough right now.
There is no better time to show ourselves some compassion and grace.
Workplace Burnout Has Worsened During Pandemic
NPR’s Life Kit recently addressed the growing problem of workplace burnout. They shared results from a survey supported by Harvard Business Review from the fall of 2020 which indicated that burnout is a global problem (respondents were from 46 countries) that has gotten worse during the pandemic.
Here are some statistics:
- 89% of respondents said work life was getting worse.
- 85% said well-being had declined.
- 56% said demands had increased.
- 62% of those struggling to manage their workloads experienced burnout “often” or “extremely often” in previous three months.
- 57% of employees felt that pandemic had a “large effect on” or “completely dominated” their work.
First responders were always at the frontlines, heroically confronting risks to their own safety and well being. High stress and trauma were already part of their realities. But the COVID-19 pandemic has exponentially increased that risk, stress and trauma. Employers of first responders are thinking of ways to better support and appreciate first responders and how changes to the workplace might help.
Right now public outpourings showing appreciation of the tremendously important and brave work of first responders has become more commonplace, but it’s important not to let those expressions of thanks and gratitude waiver as our country cautiously begins to open back up again after being on lockdown.
Keep in mind that first responders will be grappling with the trauma of what they have been called on to cope with during this pandemic for a very long time. This impact on their mental health and feelings about their jobs will likely be profoundly felt and long lasting.
Looking back at the corporate wellness programs of our grandparents gives us an appreciation for how far we’ve come — and what the future holds.
The corporate wellness programs of yore were crude efforts that often chased the wrong goals, according to the Limeade ebook “The Evolution of Corporate Wellness.” Yet what we know now is only possible through these early experiments in corporate wellness.
As corporate wellness moves into the “Wellness 2.0” generation, it’s clear that the initiatives most companies undertake now are “just scratching the surface” of possibilities, as the Limeade ebook puts it.
So how did we get here? And what exactly is “Wellness 2.0”?
Read on for a brief history of corporate wellness, and the lessons we’ve learned along the way that have brought us to where we are today.
April 7 is World Health Day. It’s a great time to mobilize your employees around a cause and remind them of the importance of workplace wellness! We commemorate World Health Day on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) founding anniversary. Each year, WHO focuses on a specific health issue with worldwide implications.
In 2016, the theme was Beat Diabetes. Did you know?
- “About 350 million people worldwide have diabetes, a number likely to more than double in the next 20 years.”
- “In 2012, diabetes was the direct cause of 1.5 million deaths. More than 80% of diabetes deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.”
- “Type 2 accounts for around 90% of all diabetes worldwide. Reports of type 2 diabetes in children have increased worldwide”
Diabetes is increasingly prevalent worldwide and harms families, businesses, and communities. Luckily, it’s preventable and treatable, and your company can help get the word out! WHO offers free materials such as free posters and useful fact sheets to help publicize the issue and even suggests ways to get involved with different audiences.
World Health Day is a perfect opportunity to re-focus supporting wellness in your workplace, partnering with local organizations and building community engagement against a common cause.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of celebrating World Health Day and how to celebrate it with your employees!
Workplace wellness programs lead to healthier, happier, more engaged and more productive employees. And that’s good for your business.
Summer is just the time to jumpstart your workplace wellness programs, since the season’s bounty provides plenty of opportunities to spark your employees’ enthusiasm. Companies nationwide are kicking off summer wellness programs, including Dean Health Plan, which last month launched its “Summer of Wellness” program.
During the program’s first week, Dean held activities including a healthy grilling demonstration, daily wellness walks, and an orientation for its Couch-to-5K training program. All were part of a community-wide Worksite Wellness Week in the Madison, Wis. region. Businesses and organizations across the region participated, led by the area’s Madison Region Economic Partnership.
There are plenty of ways you can foster workplace wellness this summer, and the Greatist health and fitness team lists examples in “The 44 Healthiest Companies to Work For in America”. Read on to see some of our favorites!
It’s cold, it’s cloudy and the sparkle of the holidays is long gone. How can you help your employees beat the winter workplace blahs?
Up to 20 percent of Americans suffer from mild symptoms associated with the winter blues, according to Duke Today writer April Dudash. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a more intense version of depression that occurs during the winter months. About 11 million Americans suffer from SAD.
Even a mild case of the “blahs” can wreck havoc in a workplace. Employees drag in late feeling glum, disengaged and low on energy.
Emotions are contagious (and can even be passed on via smell!), so one person’s winter blahs can quickly become everyone’s blahs. When that happens, productivity, customer relations and employee health suffer.
Self-care is especially important for company leaders during this time, since their behavior, mood and energy levels set the tone for the organization as a whole.
Escape is our natural impulse when the blahs hit — maybe to a daydream about a tropical beach! — but in fact, engaging with our emotions, our work and each other is the better way to keep the blahs at bay. Engaging keeps a workplace resilient!
Help your organization be resilient to the winter workplace blahs by incorporating the following ideas into your employee wellness program.
7 Ideas For Surviving The Winter Workplace Blahs