When you ask employees what makes a company a great place to work for, they usually talk about intangibles. Expectedly, they do not mention things like a generous compensation package nor grand incentives. Interestingly enough, they do not bring up things like great onsite shower and rest facilities, entertainment and game lounges, or even slick, beautiful offices housed in glimmering, modern skyscrapers. What they do point out are workplace characteristics that may not be the first ones to come to mind. The workforce of today loves belonging to companies that can walk the talk on their employees having a voice, owning their time, and enjoying the flexibility, as well as being provided diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. All these on top of being able to create opportunities to give back to the community, and getting access to learning and development, make employees extremely proud to work for certain organizations.
It is no longer enough to provide good healthcare coverage or fitness gym memberships. The days of simply continuing archaic engagement activities and outdated wellness programs are fading fast if they haven’t already. Because of this current health crisis, companies are - and will continue to be - forced to think about employee well-being beyond what they have practiced for years before this pandemic hit. The coronavirus has framed for all of us how we haven’t really thought of mental health before. However, we are reckoning that, now more than ever, it’s not something we should sweep under the rug. Here are some reasons why your company badly needs a mental health program.
More than ever before, today’s world is full stressors
A lot of stressors are physical and visible. Because we can see and hear these stressors, we can address them. Heavy traffic, long commutes, tight deadlines, challenging clients, heck, even a paper jam in one of the office printers. These are situations that can trigger stress, but because they occur fairly regularly and we are familiar with them, we have found ways to cope. With the pandemic, more complex stressors have surfaced or intensified: the seemingly endless loop of bad news, all the feelings that come with confinement, and just the overall sense of being in a situation you simply cannot control. See, with mental stressors, it can be an entirely different scenario. Because of the coronavirus, employees are reeling from things like the heightened rigors of parenting, the burden of sickness in the family, the pressure of marriage, detachment, and overwhelming uncertainty. With the complexity of human emotions encompassing loneliness, anxiety, and guilt, an employee shouldn’t have to look far for support.
Employees are aware of the importance of mental health
The employee of today is well-informed. It is no longer taboo to discuss mental health issues and to come forward with an admission of not knowing how to process one’s emotions and how to manage the tendencies that come with them.
It is becoming increasingly common to disclose to a colleague that you’re having trouble sleeping because of the uncertainty you feel. There is no shame in revealing that, as a new mother, you feel guilty for leaving your baby. Especially with millennial employees, there is little to no stigma to declare that you’re feeling out of sorts or are battling depression.
The workforce is now dominated by a generation of employees who do not subscribe to the “grin and bear it” ideology. On social media, they do not hide their anger, alarm and agitation. Facebook and Twitter broadcast people’s personal feelings and what goes through their minds.
Especially in dealing with the pandemic, people openly talk about their fears and uneasiness. Employees know they can express how they feel, that it’s important for them to do so, and most importantly, they know that, when their company provides access to support, they will take them up on it.
Mental health problems adversely affect business
This seems obvious, but we have not rightfully acknowledged it and felt the weight of its value before COVID-19 happened. Mental health issues have an impact on employee morale and motivation, resulting in loss of productivity, increased human error, rampant absenteeism, and high worker turnover. As we all reel from the mental health impact of the coronavirus that is far from over, we need to get really serious about acknowledging its importance. When companies have a good mental health program in place, employees are more motivated and effective, and that can only mean good things. They can and will not only weather this storm better, but they will be key in reinventing and rebuilding after the tempest.
It’s just the right thing to do
Business owners and leaders have the moral obligation to safeguard the overall wellness of their employees - the lifeblood of the company. You shouldn’t be doing the bare minimum anymore. In this day and age, it’s imperative for companies to promote not just a healthy and fit body, but also a sound mind. The inclusion of mental health programs and initiatives should be part of every company’s strategic plan. Creating a culture that fosters mental health paves the way for employees to find meaning in the work that they do. When they feel protected, appreciated, and valued, employees contribute more than what is expected. DuPont, Barclays, and Manulife are examples of companies that have made strides in mental health advocacy. It’s interesting to see how they and other organizations will rise up to address the unique challenges that COVID-19 brings.
So, where do companies start? How do they begin to look into the mental health of their workforce? This is where Infinit Care comes in. Infinit Care, as a mental health company, has stepped up to the plate to help organizations provide mental health services to their employees. Companies have taken advantage of its mental health support available via an easily accessible platform for online counseling or telecounseling done by licensed counselors and psychologists, as well as regular webinars on various mental health topics facilitated by mental health experts. For big organizations, Infinit Care can also set up a dedicated mental health crisis helpline. The need for a comprehensive mental health program that leverages technology for it to be sustainable cannot be ignored any longer.
The coronavirus has brought to the surface more clearly than ever before the need for companies to support and empower employees to become more resilient and emotionally agile. It shouldn’t have taken a pandemic to make the rest of us realize that.
In this time, it is best to begin to be in conversation with a mental health organization and understand how counseling can help your workforce and team.