Encouraging a culture of mental well-being and resilience in the workplace - Hindustan Times
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Encouraging a culture of mental well-being and resilience in the workplace

ByAbha Dandekar
Mar 20, 2024 04:17 PM IST

This article is authored by Abha Dandekar, CEO and founder, Elephant In The Room (EITHR), a corporate mental health partner.

Given the transformative shifts in working culture witnessed over the last three years, creating a positive work environment has become paramount. Corporate emphasis on employee mental health underscores the increasing importance of fostering an open and understanding workplace environment. Organisational culture and employee experience exert great influence, shaping aspects ranging from stress levels and mental well-being to productivity and performance. Establishing a nurturing atmosphere extends well beyond the choice of planters and coffee dispensers; it surpasses the physical boundaries of the workplace.

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Mental health

Leaders and managers play pivotal roles in creating and sustaining a healthy atmosphere, influencing organisational culture and employee well-being. The focus on mental health is essential as stress-induced anxiety, depression, and burnout have become common challenges in the workplace. The demands and expectations inherent in many work settings can contribute to elevated stress levels among employees. Recognising the importance of seeking external assistance from mental health professionals is crucial for employees to effectively navigate and overcome work-related. Stress-induced anxiety, depression, and burnout are the most common factors affecting an optimal workplace construct. The relentless demands and high expectations inherent in many work settings can contribute to elevated stress levels among employees. The cumulative effect of prolonged stress can lead to anxiety and depression, adversely affecting both one’s mental and emotional states. In such situations, seeking external assistance from mental health professionals becomes crucial. Acknowledging this avenue for support is vital for employees to effectively navigate and overcome work-related stress and burnout.

Leadership plays a critical role in promoting mental health support. Effective leaders understand the importance of work-life balance and implement policies that allow employees to manage their workload while maintaining personal well-being. Specialised training for management helps them recognise signs of stress and anxiety, directing employees to appropriate resources for help. The UKG Global Survey 2023-Manager Impact on Mental Health rightfully stated – ‘For better or worse, managers have more impact on our mental health than doctors and therapists and even equal to that of spouses and partners’. Leaders serve as the compass of organisational dynamics; they instill a sense of purpose and cohesion among team members. Their strategic vision not only charts the course for success but also curate an environment where innovation and collaboration can flourish, creating a sense of belongingness for the employees. In the pursuit of a healthy workplace, the significance of effective leadership and management cannot be overstated. They are instrumental in shaping a culture that places the mental and emotional state of its workforce at the forefront.

Supervisors that prioritise open communication, transparency, and empathy lay the groundwork for fostering trust and collaboration. Managers, functioning as vital bridges connecting authorities with frontline employees, play a crucial role in translating organisational values into actionable steps. It is imperative for employers to nurture a secure and supportive working space and encourage a culture where employees feel empowered to express themselves openly. By creating a setting where individuals can honestly communicate their challenges, organisations not only promote mental health but also establish a sense of belonging. This practice of openness contributes towards building resilient teams and a foundation for the company where individuals feel valued and supported in both their professional and personal journeys. Seeking specialised, external support to enable an open-minded and flourishing workforce aids in navigating obstacles and challenges that individuals or organisations may encounter. By adapting to new realities, anticipating challenges, and embracing resilience, employers can contribute significantly to the creation of a firm that thrives amid the uncertainties of the professional landscape.

As individuals tasked with guiding teams and making crucial decisions, leaders and managers often shoulder substantial pressure that can affect their state of mind. As the saying goes, "One cannot pour from an empty cup", individuals, especially leaders and managers, cannot effectively support or lead others if they neglect their own well-being. It emphasises the importance of recognising that the mental well-being of leadership and management is just as vital as that of their employees. Going beyond individual well-being plays a vital role in promoting a positive work culture and maintaining overall success.

Acknowledging the pressures faced by leaders and managers, it becomes crucial to recognise that their mental well-being is just as vital as that of their employees. As individuals tasked with guiding teams and making crucial decisions, leaders and managers cannot effectively support or lead others if they neglect their own well-being. This recognition emphasises the importance of creating a positive work culture that supports the mental well-being of everyone within the organisation.

Companies should invest in development programmes and specialised sessions focusing on emotional intelligence, effective communication, and conflict resolution for both leadership and employees. These programs go beyond traditional skill-building and are essential for creating positive, stress-free, and prosperous working conditions. By nurturing these skills in leaders and managers, organisations lay the foundation for sustained employee betterment and remarkable success. Through innovative programs, collaborative partnerships, and a focus on empathy and well-being, organisations can drive a positive shift in how mental health is addressed within the workplace, encouraging a healthier and more productive professional environment.

This article is authored by Abha Dandekar, CEO and founder, Elephant In The Room (EITHR), a corporate mental health partner.

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