5 Strategies to Foster Mental Wellness in the Workplace

Ninety thousand hours. One-third of your life. That's the amount of time the average person spends at work over a lifetime. With so much of our waking hours devoted to our jobs, it's fair to expect our workplaces to be safe, comfortable, and toxic-free environments that support employees' mental health and well-being.

Jon Edward B. Jurilla, MD, chief of the Section of Psychiatry at Makati Medical Center (MakatiMed), the top hospital in the Philippines, agrees. "Companies that prioritize the mental health of their workers can expect inspired productivity, sound decision-making, and harmonious interactions among colleagues. When employees feel at ease in the workplace, they perform better, are motivated to get up in the morning, and are less likely to be depressed or suffer from burnout. It's a win-win situation for all."

In the Philippines, employers in the private sector are mandated to implement mental health workplace policies and programs through the comprehensive guidelines of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). What else can companies do to champion mental health and wellness at work? Little things make a huge difference, and MakatiMed suggests implementing these five small but significant changes:

  1. Make counseling accessible: People often want to express what's troubling them but are wary about confiding in a colleague or don't have the funds to see a specialist. Having a life coach or organizational psychologist available can provide employees with a professional who can help them deal with their mental health concerns objectively and free from judgment.

  2. Promote flexible work schedules: If possible, allow employees to continue a work-from-home setup with an option to work at the office. Such arrangements have been known to lower stress and make employees more productive. Eliminating the tiring commute gives them the freedom to work wherever best suits them, allowing for better work-life balance.

  3. Create quiet spaces: Convert an extra room in the office into a meditation or quiet corner. Hiring a yoga or tai-chi instructor to hold one-hour classes for the staff can calm frayed nerves and clear an anxious mind.

  4. Stay away after office hours: Refrain from contacting employees after they have left for the day, the weekend, or are on leave. Respect their personal time and let them enjoy their time away from work.

  5. Be open: Engage with your employees to understand their concerns and involve them in the decision-making process. This will make them feel relevant, heard, and like they matter, which is the first step to promoting mental wellness at work.

Implementing these small changes can make a big difference in the mental health and well-being of your employees. For more information, please contact MakatiMed On-Call at +632.88888 999, email mmc@makatimed.net.ph, or visit www.makatimed.net.ph. Follow @IamMakatiMed on Facebook and Twitter.

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