With the difficulties of the pandemic, more American workers are utilizing workplace mental health resources than ever before. However, a new study found that the majority of organizations are planning to reduce extra mental health coverage in the months ahead. While 89% of C-suite and HR leaders acknowledge the need for additional mental health support, 60% still intend to revert back to their pre-pandemic mental health strategy. Unfortunately, employee mental health issues aren't a short-term trend that will disappear with the pandemic. Problems like stress, anxiety, burnout, depression, and trauma already existed before COVID-19. There is an additional need for sustainable solutions that address the workplace mental health crisis. One way to ensure employee wellness is to provide workers with a corporate mental health day, which are specifically and strategically geared towards stress relief. Having a company-sponsored mental health day prevents employees from feeling chronically overwhelmed, and allows them time to take care of their needs.
According to research on working hours and mental health, the optimal "dosage" when it comes to paid work for human wellbeing is between eight hours and 20 hours per week. The findings suggest that working over the standard 37 to 40 hours won't reduce the risk of mental health problems, nor offer additional health benefits. While these hours may not be feasible for most companies, a no-questions-asked mental health day could be very helpful in its place. Corporate mental health days can take many forms, but it's always separate from sick days, vacation days, and holidays. It could be a permanent paid holiday, a surprise paid day-off, or a team-building day where employees can unwind from work. The benefits of scheduling such a day are:
It increases motivation:
Poor mental health leads to demotivation. When employees aren't motivated, they tend to let their minds wander or fixate on their problems. Without focus, their physical and cognitive performance may suffer; they could end up missing meetings, showing up late, dropping commitments, and treating colleagues poorly. Getting time off for mental and physical rest can rejuvenate employees.
It boosts productivity:
The pandemic has proven how much mental health can impact productivity. Employees' mental health challenges hurt their job performance, and these issues cost businesses billions of dollars due to lost productivity worldwide. A mental health day can improve employee focus, memory, and creativity, while reducing absenteeism and turnover rates.
It prevents burnout:
Burnout can devastate even the best of employees, and cause physiological illnesses. Employees suffering from depression, for instance, are more susceptible to problems like heart disease, which can increase long-term healthcare spending. A mental health day can tackle stress and overwork, plus create a healthier workplace culture.
The momentum behind workplace mental health programs have been building up before March 2020, but the pandemic has brought on a "perfect storm" of stressors. Employers should not only provide mental health resources, but also proactively aim to remove the stigma attached to mental health and cultivate a supportive workplace environment. As there is a need for evidence-based interventions for mental health, employers should discuss their approach towards mental health days with psychology professionals.
Psychology graduates undergo coursework that blends insights from social sciences and psychology, so they can offer a comprehensive care plan that can be applied to your unique organizational setting. They can educate your workers through workshops, discuss existing workplace challenges, or provide ideas on how employees can spend their mental health day in a healing way. Psychology professionals may even offer tips for employers so they can adequately check-in with their employees and discuss mental health.
Organizations can also schedule regular breathwork and meditation sessions so employees can move stress out of their bodies. Breathwork teaches the body to calm down and focus on the moment through deep belly breaths, while meditation allows people to master their minds and overcome anxieties.
Ready to get started? Breathe & Work offers online corporate yoga programs and meditation classes for employee stress management.
Contact us today to learn more about our services.
Article was specially written for www.breatheandwork.com by Anne Conner
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