Addressing emotional wellness in the workplace

Emotional wellbeing is about the individual’s ability to emotionally manage challenges in a healthy and productive way, and includes self-care, self-esteem, and managing stress. (Photo: Shutterstock)

When it comes to employee wellbeing, a lot revolves around physical wellbeing: encouraging employees to increase their physical activity, develop healthier eating habits, get more sleep, etc. This type of wellbeing is not just easier to understand, easier initiatives to lead results that are not only easier to see and quantify (weight loss, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, etc.) but also more easily related to business outcomes, such as reducing insurance costs and absenteeism. But physical wellbeing is just one of many dimensions of wellbeing that affect a person’s overall wellbeing.

What is Emotional Wellbeing?

When employers and employees find it easiest to talk about physical wellbeing, emotional wellbeing is perhaps the most difficult. “Emotional wellbeing”, broadly defined, refers to a person’s ability to emotionally manage challenges in a healthy and productive manner, and includes self-care, self-esteem, and coping with stress. And while some might think that the very personal, inner nature of emotional wellbeing would make it taboo to discuss at work, the truth is that work is often one of the main sources of stress that leads to that a person becomes “emotionally uncomfortable”.

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Ignoring emotional health – both on a personal and organizational level – can have consequences that are far more worrying than a few awkward moments, such as being at home. B. higher burnout rates, interpersonal conflicts and decreased productivity. “Emotionally ill” employees can transmit their personal feelings of stress or dissatisfaction to other members of the organization, including those with whom they do not interact directly, and infect the entire corporate culture.

However, companies that build a culture that promotes emotional wellbeing experience higher retention rates and greater employee engagement. “Emotionally good” employees tend to be more productive, work better in teams and have a more positive attitude towards their work and their employer.

The fact that emotional wellbeing is more difficult to quantify than physical wellbeing is a major reason employers tend to include it in their employee wellbeing strategies. Emotional wellbeing is not “unquantifiable,” however, health risk assessments (HRA), screening tools that help individuals identify and understand their personal health risks, often include questions related to emotional wellbeing. In an enterprise-wide administration, employers could use data from their employees’ HRAs to measure the emotional health of their entire workforce and identify areas for improvement, and then compare that data to measure the success of their program year after year.

Incorporating emotional wellbeing into the broader strategy

Employers who want to integrate emotional wellbeing into their corporate wellness programs don’t have to reinvent the wheel. In fact, many companies that don’t have a formalized wellness program may already be dealing with emotional health without realizing it, such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

EAPs are employee benefit programs that provide workers with resources and tools to help them deal with personal problems (addiction, debt, family issues, etc.) that can affect their job performance. More actively promoting EAP among employees, both globally and individually among managers, is a simple but effective way to improve emotional well-being at very little additional cost. Other initiatives or guidelines employers may already have in place to improve the emotional health of their employees include flexible hours, paid time off, regular breaks to stretch or take a short walk around the office, and encouraging employees to have lunch encouraging away from their desks .

When it comes to tackling emotional wellbeing more directly, companies should create initiatives that educate their employees about every factor of emotional wellbeing that the company wants to address and empower them to make decisions that will improve their emotional health can. In addition to addressing any emotional well-being-related challenges, employers should seek to provide resources that educate employees about why emotional health is important and whom to turn to if they need additional help.

G&A Partners has seen the impact of promoting emotional health on its own employees. In 2017, G&A decided to increase its focus on emotional wellbeing by incorporating challenges that target health risk factors such as stress and self-care. The effects were evident in the HRAs: Compared to the previous year, G&A employees had a roughly 10 percent lower risk of insomnia, around 5 percent less a high risk of depression and around 5 percent more likely to have a lower risk of anxiety.

Examples of emotional wellness challenges that G&A Partners found successful were:

  • A meditation challenge that encouraged staff to meditate for 150 minutes for a month.
  • A gratitude challenge that required employees to write down what they were grateful for each day of the month.
  • A positivity challenge that required employees to compliment three times a day.

These types of challenges are particularly effective in managing emotional wellbeing because they provide multiple tools for employees to use to improve their personal emotional health as well as the emotional health of those around them.

The inherent interconnectedness of each of the wellness dimensions – physical, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual, professional, environmental, and financial – means that virtually every wellness initiative an employer implements ultimately affects more than one aspect of the general health of its employees . However, employers shouldn’t limit themselves to addressing emotional wellbeing only indirectly because they or their employees may feel uncomfortable, as making emotional health a priority in their wellness program can bring a lot more ROI than one that does emotional Does not address the well-being of their employees. Be.

Olivia Curtis is a certified personal trainer, fitness nutritionist and wellness expert. In her current role as a wellness specialist at G&A Partners, a national professional organization (PEO) and HR outsourcing company, she heads G & A’s award-winning full-service wellness program EVOLVE both internally and for many of G & A’s customers.

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