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employee assistance program

One of the recent crises which are grappling today’s workplace is the mental health of the employees. Psychological wellbeing of the employees has a direct impact on organizational productivity.

SUMMARY
 Poor mental health and stress can contribute to various physical problems leading to frequent absenteeism, low performance, inability to meet deadlines and unfinished tasks.
 Burnout, poor employee morale, low motivation to work hard, anxiety, depression and panic attacks are very commonly seen in corporate offices.
 Negative effects on productivity and profits.
 Attrition has become a global menace, wherein workload and stress are the most cited causes.
 Job dropout seems to be the only way to ensure mental tranquillity. It is detrimental to the global economy.
 The need of the hour is to make healthy work environments, in the form of EAP, (employee assistance program), so as to address the mental health issues in a better way.

World health organization estimates say that anxiety and depression are the common mental health problems of corporate professionals. Only a small fraction of companies are aiding their employees with the good work environment, flexible time, employee support schemes, talk shows on promoting good mental health, to ensure a better quality of work by their workforce.

Common Triggers of Workplace Stress
 Inadequate health and safety policy
 Workplace bullying and harassment
 Inflexible working hours
 Lack of relaxation in workplace
 Performance pressure with no job satisfaction
 Unhealthy office politics
 Poor communication between hierarchy personnel
 Unsupportive management
 Fear of being laid off

Effects of Toxic Workplace on Employees
A combination of lifestyle issues and overall job stress is creating tremendous pressure on corporate people. Anxiety, depression, suicidal tendencies, sleep disorders are very commonly seen. Stress can cause physical, emotional, behavioural problems which affect health, energy,
and general wellbeing. It can also hamper interpersonal relations. All around, we see burnout employees with tired souls and irritable mood.

PHYSICAL EFFECTS
 High blood pressure
 Back pain
 Diabetes
 Stomach problems
 Eating disorders
 Insomnia
 Fatigue
 Headache and muscle tension

PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS
 Feeling anxious
 Mood swings
 Loss of interest and motivation
 Lack of concentration
 Poor mental agility
 Social isolation
 Substance abuse and smoking
 Panic attacks

WAYS TO IMPROVE CORPORATE MENTAL HEALTH
Job stress can be overwhelming but you have the power to control your psyche and make lifestyle changes to negate the effects of workplace pressure on you. It is not that difficult. Little efforts from the individual and the organization to improve psychological wellbeing of the employees

Individual Input

Personality, experiences and unique characteristics of the individual all influence the way one responds to a stressful situation in a corporate workplace. The same stressors can cause a different response to different individuals. The following steps, if undertaken at the individual
level, often help to ease stress.

  • Identify stress triggers – it means to identify the people and situation that cause stress. It is advisable to avoid people who are psychologically disturbing, as far as possible. Change the circumstances that cause stress in order to improve mental wellbeing.
  • Work on your time management skills – time management is an art that needs to be sharpened to reduce pressure at the office. Since so many deadlines need to be met in a short time, it is desirable to plan your work, make schedules and make a priority list of which work should be done immediately.
  • Seek help from teammates and work in groups, wherever possible – it minimizes workload on an individual.
  • Take intermittent breaks during work – coffee break or half an hour of break, at least once in a day can be an effective stress buster. Talk to friend or acquaintance, walk in and around the office premise for 5 to 10 mins. This helps to release tension.
  • Have a healthy diet – avoid junk and callous eating, healthy eating boosts immunity and reduces mental fatigue.
  • Sleep – it is an important determinant in reducing stress. Good sleep keeps the body and minds fresh.
  • Regular workout and meditation – these should be practised regularly to keep a calm mind and fit body.

Organizational support schemes
Psychological wellbeing of the employees and Promoting healthy mind in workplace is the responsibility of the organization as well. Let’s look into few steps

  • Promote work-life balance – employees should have the opportunity to take leave or go on vacation, at least twice a year to unplug from office.
  • Mental health workshops – these workshops are conducted by psychologists who teach effective coping strategies, to ensure the good mental health of the employees.
  • Employee assistance program (EAP) – It should be promoted in office. The benefits of the program should be used by all. It includes staying fit and healthy mind programs, facilitating overall well being. Counselling is done to reduce anxiety and mental agony due to excessive workload.

Promoting psychological wellness at work is becoming a priority for employers in recent times. There is a widespread acknowledgement of the old adage, only healthy minds can make a healthy and productive workplace.

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