Encouraging self-care: How organizations can support employee wellness

Encouraging self-care: How organizations can support employee wellness

Feeling burned out and overwhelmed at work is more common than we think. Stress among the workforce is at an all-time high. As Gallup’s 2023 report cites, “East Asia tied with the U.S. and Canada region for the highest level of stress at 52%, and Australia and New Zealand had the second-highest rate at 47%. Stress has become a constant companion in modern life”.


Poor productivity, demotivated employees, absenteeism, dissatisfied customers, etc.

However, the good news is that many organizations are now identifying such issues and taking proactive measures to curb them. 

If you, too, wish to drive a culture of employee well-being and encourage employee self-care, you will find this post insightful.

5 ways to encourage self-care at workplace

Before implementing different programs to encourage self-care at work, ensure your company culture aligns with employee wellbeing. 

Remember, whatever measure you take, it ties back to the overall company goals. 

Once you have the company culture established, your employees will feel more comfortable speaking about mental health, which is otherwise still considered a stigma. 

Spread awareness

Take a top-down approach to spread awareness about mental health and why self-care is important. Encourage the leadership team to talk about their personal experiences while managers and supervisors can replicate the same within their teams. 

Empower employees to set boundaries

Every employee is different and functions better in certain ways. While some employees might prefer to stay up at night and dedicate time to deep, focused work, others might want to unplug at 6 PM and spend time with family. The point is empowering employees to set their boundaries helps them take control, which in turn makes them more engaged at work. This approach also improves the productivity to a great extent. 

Offer flexible work hours

Offering flexible work hours helps employees to do their best during their productive hours. For example, if an employee is more productive in the morning, they can block the time for more focused work and schedule other work like meetings or taking out the pet for a walk in the afternoon time when they feel not so productive. Let the managers check with their team what kind of flexibility works best for their team members. 

Reward with self-care kits

Reward your employees with surprise self-care kits that make them feel valued. Fill the kits with stuff like aromatic candles, healthy snacks, stress balls, mindfulness journals, spa vouchers, etc., that will help the employee relax and rejuvenate. 

Encourage healthy work habits

Encourage employees to step away from their desks whenever possible. Taking a few steps during the day will help them stay productive and refresh their minds. Coworkers can take walking meetings while getting some fresh air, while managers can connect with their team members during walking meetings. You may also send reminders to step away during lunch break to reset and recharge. Enjoying lunch away from the work desk can do wonders for the mind. 

Why self-care matters for employees

Burned out at work, stress, anxiety, and depression are on the rise among employees, and poor mental health not only affects their overall well-being but negatively impacts their productivity, too. The Mind Share Partners’ 2021 Mental Health at Work Report mentions that 76% of people have experienced at least one symptom associated with a mental health condition in the past year. The same report also mentions that 77% experienced a decline in productivity due to mental health. 

Hence, companies that invest in the mental health of their employees will see happier employees with better productivity who can deliver optimum output. Remember, if you are looking to build high-performing teams, investing in the emotional wellness of the employee is a non-negotiable. 

Organizations to take inspiration from

Here are some real-world examples of organizations that are building positive workplace environments by supporting the mental health of their employees and prioritizing self-care. 


Adobe has collaborated with Aetna and Kaiser to include behavioural health services in its health plans. As part of it, employees get 90 percent coverage for their mental health needs, pregnant employees receive care kits, counselling services for couples and individuals, and more. 

American Express

American Express revamped its EAP program to support the mental health needs of its employees. As part of its revamped EAP service, the company offers on-site mental health counselling across its 20 locations. It’s also continuously looking for ways to improve its mental health program to benefit more.


EY runs an “r u ok?” program that enables employees to educate themselves about mental health and how they can do self-care. As part of the program, employees receive counselling help, access to a helpline, and information on how to talk about mental health without stigma. 

The key takeaway

Mental health and self-care are still taboo topics in our society, and employees still shy away from talking about them at the workplace. To encourage self-care in the workplace, company leadership needs to foster a culture of self-care. Set improving mental health as one of your strategic company goals and build a culture to destigmatize mental health. Tie back all your mental health initiatives to your company goals and culture. Only then will you be able to build a happy workplace and support employee wellness.