In corporate life, we often tend to forget that businesses are so much more than financial balance sheets of debit and credit. Businesses are made of people vis-a-vis your employees. Your employees are your biggest asset whose support is required to run a successful business. Your employees are made of flesh and blood, and looking out for their well being should be your top priority. A happy employee is more productive and in the long run a valuable asset for the company. Anna Guchok shares insight on the subject.
It is difficult for your employees to keep their private struggles away from their workplace because they spend so much time in the workplace. Their personal moods and mindset is bound to affect the quality of their work. 80% of employees in India are dissatisfied with their work according to a survey done by economic times. Another research (carried out by industry body ASSOCHAM in 2015) shows that 42.5% of the employees that were surveyed showed signs of suffering from depression or anxiety.
So what exactly do we mean when we talk about emotional well being in the workplace?
Emotional wellness refers to a positive sense of self and enough mental wellbeing that enables a person to go through obstacles that life puts him/her through. When a person is emotionally fulfilled, they are more likely to manage the situation in a critical and analytical way. When it comes to emotional wellbeing at the workplace, the employer has to make sure that the employee experiences the right amount of pressure. Too much and it causes burn out, too little and employees feel dissatisfied.
The NHS foundation trust identifies 3 distinct zones that are associated with pressure experienced by employees at work
- Rust out zone- this refers to a zone where employees do not find any kind of challenge in their work. This makes the employee feel demotivated, less productive and they tend to get de-engaged from work.
- Burn-out zone- where the employees feel anxious and stressed that reduces their productivity and again causes them to take frequent leaves.
- Positive psychological or wellbeing zone- this is when they have the right amount of challenge which keeps them motivated at work.
But recently the scope of workplace wellness has broadened its horizon, employers have started realizing that helping employees maintain a work-life balance is important. They have also taken into account that providing the employees with resources that help them in coping-up with their personal problems is also very necessary for their overall emotional wellbeing at the workplace.
Why is the emotional wellness of your employees so important? How does it affect your business?
Advantages of maintaining emotional wellness at the workplace
Maintaining emotional wellness and mental wellness of your employees has multiple advantages; making sure that they are happy and satisfied with the job will also make them good at it. This, in turn, affects your business because a happy employee is a productive employee. Some of the reasons why workplace wellness is so important because:
1) It improves employee retention
It can help with tackling the problem faced by many companies of employee turnover. It can cost you a lot of money if your employees keep on leaving you. As mentioned earlier, numbers suggest that most of the employees are not happy with their jobs. This is leading them to change their jobs multiple times in order to find a place where they feel happy and productive.
Taking care of your employees’ emotional wellbeing and making sure they feel happy and contained at work can improve employee retention levels for your company. When employees feel satisfied at work they are less likely to change their jobs. In a series of surveys, it was revealed that 50% among the surveyed participants said that they look for a good corporate culture while looking for a new job. 70% said that they would be willing to accept a pay cut just to get a better job. So keeping your employees happy will keep them loyal to you.
2) Your company will be able to attract good talent
The majority of the employee force today is millennials. These people are very actively seeking places that have a good corporate culture in place. They are what we call the “woke” generation, who understand the importance of mental and emotional wellbeing. In order to attract and retain good talent in your company, developing a good corporate emotional wellness program is necessary.
Employees today are not just looking for a good paycheck but they are in a search for a better life. When they are confident about their talent, they know they will be paid adequately. They are interested in what more do you have to offer. The advantages of having a talented and productive employee in the company can’t be overstated. The company will witness a positive environment that will work as a fuel for growth.
3) The productivity level of the employees will increase
When your employee or your team is able to make a noticeable amount of contribution in a very small period of time, it is needless to say it will benefit the company a great deal. It has been reportedly been found out in numerous studies that happy and emotionally healthy employees are more productive and efficient at work.
The more productive and efficient your employees are more success your company gets. A study conducted by economists at the University of Warwick discovered, happy employees saw a 12% growth in productivity while at the same time unhappy employees saw a 10% reduction in the level of their productivity.
4) They are more capable of managing stress and different obstacles in life
Emotional wellness is not limited to a happy mind or a happy employee, it also involves a healthy mind. When your employees are emotionally stable and have a healthy mind they are in a better position to cope up with stress and feel less anxious in situations that arouse negative feelings.
They are better capable of managing pressure and can perform well even under situations that might cause stress. They can detach themselves from the situation and think in an analytical and critical manner. They can perform even under pressure and deliver the required results. They are able to balance their emotions and control the feeling of anxiety. They will help you in maintaining a positive work culture.
5) The frequency of sick leaves will reduce
When the mind is not healthy, there are pangs of anxiousness and frequent panic attacks, employees are more likely to fall sick. A happy and motivated employee will take less frequent sick leaves. The employee’s physical health also affects the level of output. Their physical health is influenced by their mental health.
It is basic math that when your employees are falling sicker and coming less to office their productivity will reduce. According to research, employers can save up to 5.8$ in lower sick leaves for every dollar that is spent on an employee wellness program.
6) It enhances creativity and memory
Positive emotions are linked with enhancing creativity and mental capacity in employees. Research has found a positive link between feeling happy and positive emotions and an increase in productivity amongst people. Practicing emotional wellness increases activity in the area of the brain that is linked to creativity and memory. So if you keep your employees happy and satisfied, they will be more engaged in the job and it will yield better results for your business.
Disadvantages of ignoring emotional wellness
Ignoring the emotional wellness of employees can have serious repercussions for your business. An unhappy and emotionally ill employee can directly affect your business.
If the emotional health of employees is not taken care of, it can cause stress-related burnout in employees. They are more likely to breakdown under situations that inflict mental pressure on them. They are likely to feel lethargic.
The chances of slacking off at work increases and the employee retention rate go down. They are less likely to feel productive which in turn causes more dissatisfaction. When emotional health is not in good shape, employees are more likely to be in a bad mood. Bad moods of the employees can cause conflict amongst them and teamwork can get compromised.
How can you take care of your employee’s emotional health?
Given the numerous benefits of taking care of emotional health, it is only wise for you to implement strategies that can help with improving the emotional health of your employees.
Some of the measures that you can take at the corporate level to ensure the emotional wellbeing of your employees are:
1) Employee assistant program
This is a specially designed program to help employees deal with their personal and work-related emotional problems. It involves counseling for issues faced by them in their life. This way your employees have access to professional care. This can help them manage stress and cope up with their problems in an efficient manner.
2) Flexible working hours
It has been reportedly found in many surveys and researches that offering flexible working hours to employees is a great way to ensure productivity. They feel more in control of their time which gives them a sense of power and satisfaction. Flexible working hours incorporated with work from home option is something millennials are seeking out. It makes them feel less stressed and can manage their work in a more efficient and productive way.
3) Showing empathy/ recognition
Showing empathy towards employees’ problems and struggles make them feel valued. At the same time, recognizing them for their contribution will bring in positive feelings and a sense of satisfaction. Both of these are very important for engagement at work, which in turn improves productivity.
4) Encourage them to take planned vacations
Encourage them to plan holidays with their families and friends. Going on vacations has numerous benefits, both physically and mentally. Vacations can actually rejuvenate a person. Tying up with wellness resorts and spas and providing your employees subsidized rates or gift vouchers once in a while can help with healing their emotional scars.
5) Encouraging the practice of mindfulness
Encourage your employees to practice mindfulness at work. Various activities are said to improve mindfulness. The advantages of practicing mindfulness are numerous. It improves concentration, has a positive effect on memory, improves productivity and also puts the person in a better position to handle stress. Ask your employees to practice activities that improve mindfulness during the working hours. It gives them a chance to relax and unwind and recharge themselves.
Making sure your employees are happy and satisfied at work and in life are the basic qualities of a good employer. Investing in maintaining your employees’ emotional wellbeing is like investing in your company’s future. To make sure your employees’ emotional health is up to the mark, you should consider taking a two-prong approach. Firstly by educating them on why emotional health is important and why is the company looking out for their emotional health, and secondly by empowering them to make choices that will help improve their emotional health.
Anna Guchok, the Holistic Wellness Expert emphasizes, emotional wellbeing of employees should be the top priority of a company’s wellness programs. Employees must feel comfortable to open up their concerns and the company must take suitable actions helping them to deal with it.