Employee Mental Wellness is Directly Tied to the Bottom Line
The antithesis of mental wellness is not mental illness. Just because you aren’t at the top of your game does not mean that you have a clinically defined mental illness. Actually in many traditional cultures, mental illness does not exist; only varying severity of negative energy affliction. On a philosophical level I tend to agree with this, but the practicality of it is that, unfortunately, our society is not set up to handle it from that perspective. That is however a topic for another time. Mental wellness refers more to being in mental balance, very much the same way that we would maintain a healthy body. Just because we exercise and eat healthy does it mean that we are sick, of course not! It is becoming more and more popular and socially acceptable to take care of you mind as well as your body. One does not have to go to a mental health professional to maintain mental wellness, but sometimes that is a good place to start. Your mental wellness practice can be initiated by smaller steps though.
Normally I would want to start digging up the root cause of any imbalance, but when you are dealing with groups and collective energies, such as in companies, you need to look at the external environments of the members to understand what unnecessary triggers exist for them. Once you move the group energy onto a stage where the members are starting to turn within and ponder their own existence, they will start the work towards finding the root cause of their own imbalance, we might just need to activate it. For the vast majority of us, our work place is the source of most of the stress and suppressed anger and frustration. If you think about it most of the time when you are at work, you play a role that is wholly, or in big parts, not an authentic projection of who you are; you are acting more how others expect you to act. When you are in a prolonged state in-authenticity you will start to feel imbalanced and you and everybody around you will suffer for it. It isn’t necessarily because you are in the wrong job that you feel that way. It could be, of course, but it could be because we are all conditioned to perform to the standard of our external expectations. Our employers line up like everybody else to project their expectations on us. I argue that employers wield a far more powerful weapon against us in terms of drumming up our fears, which is why I think, apart from ourselves, our employers have a greater responsibility for our mental wellness than anyone else in our lives .
Every sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and thought that we experience throughout the day will have an impact on our mental/emotional state; positively or negatively. It is all perceived by our subconscious to generate the overall mood for the moment. We don’t even realise the impact every little thing has on our mood. Yet, this is not some new discovery, people just tend to ignore it. For example, hospitals usually have a primary colour scheme of green because it is known that green has a calming effect on our psyche. Red is a terrible colour for a bedroom because it riles you up. If colour has this impact, what do you think having, for example, the news playing the background in an office spewing out war, famine, violence and other negativity all day, will do to your mental balance. You need to surround yourself with that which you want to become.
As a company, there are simple steps to help your employees feel more mentally balanced. Look at these aspects around yourself:
- Interior design; does your office environment invite creativity and passion? What colour scheme is it? What plants are there (there are plants that literally eat negativity!)? Is it boring? What story does your artwork invite the viewer to be a part of?
- Company policy; does your company policy help colleagues to open themselves up to being helped? Are there processes in place to deal with challenges that colleagues face? Are your staff trained to identify when someone is not well?
- Subtle signals; What do you have in the cupboards in the kitchen, healthy or unhealthy stuff? What magazines do you have in the reception area and the lunch room? How do people talk to each other? Do you have background music playing?
- Reward systems; are you set up to show your staff that you care more about the bottom line than their mental wellness? Do you offer wellness programmes that directly impact your staff positively?
These are just some of the areas where any employer can take immediate action . As well as mental imbalance being a vicious downward spiral, so is it when you start focusing on improving your mental wellness; it is a positive spiral upwards. If you help your employees find better balance in their lives they will be grateful to you, they will be happier at work and at home, they have better clarity, more energy, joy, creativity and passion; leading to:
- fewer sick days
- increased productivity
- improved creativity
- decreased focus on their salary
- less time waste while at work
- positive talk about the company
- increased revenues and profits
Make work fun for the right reasons and you will reap the rewards; not only the monetary ones but your own self satisfaction will be brought to new heights.. It doesn’t take much, but the payoff is tremendous.
Also published on Medium.