Is someone missing from your team? When someone is absent, or underperforming, it affects everyone, and ultimately the bottom line. As a business manager or owner, you know the success of your company depends on your team's productivity, and ultimately your employees' wellbeing.
One in three disability claims and 70% of disability costs are related to mental illness. With a growing labour shortage, retaining your most valuable assets, your employees. is more important than ever. Give your employees vital skills to assess their wellbeing, and have tools and strategies to take charge of their mental health.
How Employee Wellbeing Impacts Mental Health
Research on wellbeing from 150 countries identified five essential areas of life; Purpose, Social, Physical, Financial and Community which form a foundation for greater wellbeing. (Gallup). When your employees are healthy and well in each of these areas, they are more likely to be focused, engaged and productive. But when they are suffering in any one area, it can have a significant impact on their mental health.
Your employees can't address problems they don't acknowledge. Employees often don't recognize they are suffering until they are on the verge of burnout. Left unaddressed they will be less productive and more likely to miss time at work or end up taking a medical leave.
When employees assess how they are doing in each of the following five areas they become empowered about their ability to manage their mental health.
Purpose: When an employee lacks a sense of purpose or feels unfulfilled in their work or personal life, it can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction, frustration, and even depression. Feeling stuck or unsure of their direction in life, which can lead to feeling unfocused, decreased productivity, increased substance use and feelings of worthlessness.
Social: Social connections are essential for mental health and wellbeing. If an employee is socially isolated or lacks support in relationships, they may experience feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and even depression. The lack of social support can also make it difficult to cope with stress and challenges at work.
Physical: When an employee is dealing with physical health problems or chronic pain, they can find themselves feeling frustrated, sad, and struggle with hopelessness. Sleep problems, poor dietary habits and lack of exercise can result in fatigue, making it difficult to maintain a positive outlook and keep up with daily activities. Subtle feelings of anxiety and depression can grow over time to be debilitating.
Financial: Financial problems can be a significant source of stress. If an employee is struggling financially they may experience feelings of anxiety, worry, and even shame. Money is the number one source of stress in intimate relationships, resulting in avoidance, affecting communication and disconnection which impacts both partners and the family.
Community: If an employee lacks a sense of connection and belonging in the workplace or community, they can become disconnected from the team this can lead to feeling alone and undervalued. Additionally, injustices, real or perceived will result in irritation, anger and frustration. Left unaddressed, these problems can lead to high turnover rates and workplace conflict.
Assess Your Own Wellbeing
Our Wellbeing Assessment, used in our Employee Wellbeing Workshops, show employees how to assess their wellbeing, and provide them with tools and strategies that will make them more resilient. To gain greater understanding of the importance of wellbeing, take a moment to rate your wellbeing in each of the five areas.
Purpose: What activities, work or life roles give you meaning and purpose? What inspires you to keep moving forward? Alternatively, what breaks your heart and motivates you to make a difference? Activities that give us purpose are essential to positive mental health.
Social: What relationships in your life give you strength? Who knows you deeply? Believes in you? Affirms your worth? Who celebrates your success? People you can truly rely on in difficult times give us strength and resilience.
Physical: What physical gifts, privileges or qualities are you grateful for? What physical habits, routines and activities provide you with energy and help you feel healthy and strong?
Financial: What financial assets do you have that provide safety and security? If your financial situation is difficult, what personal or community supports and resources can you turn to for help? Do you have knowledge, skills or people you can rely on for advice?
Community: What communities do you belong to that give you a sense of connection and belonging? What activities (arts, sport, education, recreation, spiritual) do you draw upon that strengthen you? What communities benefit from your contributions?
When assessing your wellbeing, you probably noticed that you have personal qualities, strengths and resources that put you at ease and provide comfort. You may also have identified or been reminded of areas where you lack skills, support or resources. Assessing your wellbeing enables you to identify your needs, organize your thoughts, set goals and seek support.
Using our Wellbeing Assessment employees learn an essential life skill, the ability to monitor their wellbeing. We also can teach them tools and strategies to take charge of their mental health.
Societal Pressures on Employee Wellbeing
Both workplace factors (link), and current circumstances impact employee wellbeing in each of the five areas.
Purpose: The pandemic forced many businesses to close or cut back on their operations, resulting in job losses and financial insecurity. This has lead to employees feeling a lack of control over their lives, and increased hopelessness and despair. At the same time, a shortage of skilled workers may be may result in employees taking on added responsibilities and roles outside their skills set. Feedback and recognition can ensure employees feel appreciated and valued, and prevent burnout(link).
Social: Many social activities, events and group activities have been slow to resume since the pandemic causing loneliness, anxiety and depression. Additionally, discrimination, inequality, and political rhetoric have also impacted people's trust in others. Such circumstances create fear, anxiety and feelings of exclusion making it harder to build and maintain meaningful relationships. Proactive steps by owners and managers that provide safety and connection can protect social wellbeing.
Physical: The pandemic significantly impacted physical health, with many people suffering from the virus itself along with the effects of lockdowns and social distancing. Many people became less active during the pandemic, and as a result have had more difficulty engaging in physical activity since. This may have a long term health impact both on individuals and organizations. In addition, according to a recent Angus Reid Poll, half of Canadians either don't have a family doctor, or can't get a timely appointment. There are also extensive waits for important procedures. Owners and Managers can take steps to reduce workplace hazards, manage demands and encourage use of workplace benefits programs.
Financial: The pandemic led to lost jobs and reduced hours for many and the Canadian government is now forecasting a recession in 2023. Rising inflation has increased the cost of living in Canada, and a surge in the housing market, has made it difficult for many people to afford homes. Both have put a strain on family finances, created stress and uncertainty, impacted financial plans and made it hard to pay bills. Financial problems strain relationships and are the number one cause of divorce. Financial wellbeing is not just about having money, but also feeling secure and in control of your finances. Owners and managers can relieve financial stress and retain employees by increasing job security, ensuring competitive wages and directing employees to financial resources.
Community: Remote work can result in employees feeling less connected to their usual community networks. Additionally, community and political issues such as discrimination, inequality, and social injustice can create tension and division. Rising crime rates, climate change increased substance abuse, political corruption and debates over freedom and responsibility are concerns for many Canadians. All have increased employees’ day-to-day levels of stress. Owners and managers can relieve stress by building team morale, ensuring a respectful work environment and being responsive to community issues impacting employee wellbeing.
Maximize The Benefits of Employee Wellbeing
A healthy and happy workforce doesn’t just benefit employees; it has a positive impact on your organization as a whole. There are four primary benefits to improving employee wellbeing.
Productivity: One of the biggest benefits of improving employee wellbeing is increased productivity. Healthy and happy employees are more likely to be engaged and motivated, leading to higher levels of productivity. In fact, research has shown that employees who report high levels of wellbeing are more likely to be productive, creative, and resilient.
Morale: When employees feel supported and valued, they are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs, which can lead to higher levels of morale and engagement and a commitment to organizational goals. This fosters a more positive workplace culture, greater collaboration and team-building amongst employees and ultimately, business success.
Retention: Promoting workplace wellbeing can also improve retention rates. When employees feel supported and valued, they are less likely to look for opportunities elsewhere, saving your organization money on hiring and training costs.
Profitability: Ultimately, improving employee wellbeing will have a positive impact on your organization's bottom line. Employees with high levels of wellbeing are less likely to take time off due to illness or burnout, reducing absenteeism and increasing overall productivity. This can lead to higher profits and a stronger competitive edge for the organization.
Empower Your Employees to Take Charge of Their Mental Health
Genetic factors contribute to 25-30% of our most common mental health illnesses such as anxiety or depression. The other 65-70% relate to problems, challenges and circumstances faced in people’s lives.
Our Employee Wellbeing Workshops give employees vital skills to monitor their wellbeing, and have the tools and strategies to take charge of their mental health. Owners and managers benefit from increased morale, employee productivity and reduced disability claims and costs.
If you'd like to learn more, here is a link to our Heal Employee Burnout PDF providing an overview of some of the topics covered in the workshops. Our Improve Workplace Wellbeing webpage provides more about our approach and our Signature workshops.
Learn more about our workshops, Schedule a free consultation today. Together we can customize a workshop that meets the unique needs of your employees improve the overall wellbeing of your organization.
Take good care,
Your wellbeing matters. Take five minutes to learn if you are suffering, surviving or thriving in five essential areas of life and what you can do to improve your wellbeing. Try it now.
About the Author:
Derrick McEachern is a Registered Counselling Therapist (RCT) in Nova Scotia, and a Canadian Certified Counsellor. He specializes in providing mindfulness-based and emotionally focused therapy. He offers workshops and webinars and consults with businesses on ways to improve employee wellbeing and mental health.