Many of us spend the majority of our waking days at work and focusing on building and advancing our careers, our experiences at the workplace contribute significantly to our overall mental health. The Future Workplace 2021 HR Sentiment survey showed that 68% of senior HR leaders (where 40% were CHROs) rated employee well-being and mental health as a top priority. Therefore, it stands to reason that organizations and the work environment they foster can improve or hurt the employees’ mental health. Additionally, they can build on that by encouraging and facilitating self-care practices among their employees.
Self-care is a set of practices to build a happy, resilient, and healthy life. It includes all forms of care, from physical and emotional, to spiritual and social. An accurate image of self-care is not just doing things that feel good for us, but even something that may not feel pleasant but is important for our wellbeing - like health checkups, or therapy.
Taking time to focus on these aspects of ourselves helps replenish our energy reserves and reduce stress. It also builds our ability to tolerate difficult situations and work through them. It offers the chance to improve relationships with others and ourselves and increases calm and balance in one’s life. Within the workplace, this can lead to better decision-making, initiatives, higher retention, and loyalty to the workplace.
What can self-care practices be within an organization?
Building a culture of wellbeing is most important to develop regular practices of welfare. This also needs preachers to practice what they say, that is, leadership to model and implement what they offer. A friendly work culture needs to be emulated from the top.
The Leadership’s role
- Have regular wellness check-ins, where managers discuss the mental well-being of employees individually, as well as professional interests to help them stay motivated and work towards their goals.
- Have a two-way feedback system, where employees can openly discuss with leadership what can be done to help them work better.
- Managers displaying vulnerability or authenticity when talking about themselves helps build trust and connection.
Create a welcoming work experience
A welcoming work experience involves an appealing environment and a friendly work culture.
- To have a physical environment that feels warm boosts energy levels and feels inviting - which can be done at the workplace or at home. Welcoming space can be created by adding decorative elements, like plants, and paintings, and asking employees to add personal items to their desks and workspaces.
- Encourage common lunchtimes especially if there is a shared eating space
- Set up cross-functional teams or have mixers where different employees interact with each other.
Knowing that there are people you can connect with or share little things about your day with can be a big motivation booster.
Focus on a holistically healthy lifestyle
- Offer health insurance and additional benefits, like a gym membership
- Offer mental health services within the organization or provide reimbursement
- Invite professionals to conduct physical exercise sessions, and workshops on mental health awareness with voluntary attendance
- Give time for lunch and encourage employees to take short walks and breaks throughout the day
Respect people’s time
It is becoming more the expectation today that companies set up and follow a balance between work and other aspects of life.
- Encourage people to log off, shut down, organization and maintain boundaries outside work hours
- Encourage employees to take regular time off and have Do Not Disturb holiday weeks
- Allow for flexibility during the workday - this may be with timings, work-from-anywhere options, or taking breaks during the day
- Offer mental health days that can be taken at least once a month, to once in two months
Build an atmosphere of appreciation
- Offer financial/concrete incentives, like annual appraisals or end-of-year bonuses - as financial satisfaction is necessary for retention
- You can also celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries and create consistent spaces to appreciate one’s progress in a group, and individually.
ManahWellness offers many features that individuals can use to practice self-care, like Affirmations, Journaling, Nudges, and Information. These are customized to each user, inviting them to spend a few minutes every day to enhance their wellbeing.
A healthy and resilient employee is a productive employee. Someone experiencing job satisfaction and having faith that their organization supports and cares for them has better morale and experiences workplace happiness, leading to more efficiency. Prioritizing your company profit today means prioritizing the wellbeing of your employees.