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Addressing Emotional Wellness In The Workplace

Strategies for promoting emotional wellness at work

When it comes to employee wellness, a lot of the discussion centers on physical wellness: encouraging employees to increase their physical activity levels, develop healthier eating habits, getting more sleep, etc. But physical wellness is just one of many dimensions of wellness that influence a person’s overall wellbeing: just as important is emotional wellness.

(Check out our on-demand webinar, “Creating A Comprehensive Wellness Strategy,” to learn more about each of the different dimensions of wellness.)

Olivia Curtis, G&A Partners’ wellness specialist, recently explored the topic of how to address emotional wellness in the workplace and why doing so should be a priority for employers, in an article for BenefitsPRO Magazine.

Emotional Wellness

What is emotional wellness?

Loosely defined, “emotional wellness” is concerned with an individual’s ability to emotionally cope with challenges in a healthy, productive way, and encompasses self-care, self-esteem and stress management. And while some might feel that the highly personal, internal nature of this dimension of wellness would make it a taboo to discuss at work, the truth is that work is often one of the top sources of stress that leads to a person becoming “emotionally unwell.”

Consequences of ignoring emotional health in the workplace

Ignoring emotional health – both on a personal level and on an organizational level – can have consequences that are much more concerning than a few moments of awkwardness, such as higher rates of employee burnout, interpersonal conflicts, and decreased productivity.  “Emotionally unwell” employees can also spread their personal feelings of stress or unhappiness to other members of the organization, even those they don’t directly interact with, infecting the overall company culture.

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Advantages of promoting emotional health in the workplace

Organizations that build cultures that promote emotional wellness, however, experience higher retention rates, and increased employee engagement. “Emotionally well” employees tend to be more productive, work better in teams and are likely to feel more positively about their work and employer.

Incorporating emotional wellness into a broader employee wellness strategy

Employers looking to incorporate emotional health into their corporate wellness programs don’t have to reinvent the wheel to do so. In fact, many companies that don’t have a formalized wellness program may already be addressing emotional health without realizing it.

Below are a few examples of policies/programs that many organizations already employ that can help promote emotional wellness:

  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
  • Flexible work arrangements (compressed workweeks, telecommuting, etc.)
  • Paid time off
  • Allowing employees to take frequent breaks away from their desks/workstations

Companies looking to more directly address emotional wellness should take a two-prong approach by educating employees on whatever factor of emotional wellness the company wants to address and then empowering them to make choices that can help improve their emotional health.

 

Check out the full article on the BenefitsPRO website for even more of Olivia’s insights on emotional wellness, including examples of wellness initiatives targeting emotional wellness that have worked at G&A Partners: “Addressing emotional wellness in the workplace.”

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