Mental wellness at a demanding job – for some people this might sound ridiculous. How can it be possible to feel mentally well if you’re constantly stressed out and overwhelmed by all the tasks and long working hours at your job? Well, let us tell you: It is possible, if you dare to speak up as an employee or want to care for your employees as an employer.
Current situation: A lack of mental wellness
In reaction to the current displeasing trend of people suffering from burnout and experiencing great dissatisfaction with their work-life balance1,2 in today’s world of work, employers and governments have developed an interest in avoiding the resulting absenteeism and have developed some programs with the goal of reducing these issues. As an employee, you have the opportunity to bring these issues into the discussion or claim them for yourself. These Work-Life-Integration programs can be divided into 5 areas3:
1. Change working hours
First of all, it is possible to change the working hours to further mental wellness at work; For e
xample by giving employees more autonomy over their working hours and dealing liberally with requests for a sabbatical year, parental leave or home office.
2. Obtaining information
Further, one can provide the employees with some additional information that can help them to better connect their work and private life. For example, employees can be given access to templates of forms or information via the intranet that can either be used to request flexible working hours, or to learn how to deal with parents in need of care or how to best move house, etc.
3. Monetary strategies
A very popular incentive for applicants are monetary strategies, in which the work-life balance is to be increased by financial relief. A classic example is paid parental leave or financial participation in education and care for children.
4. Direct services
Some companies offer kindergartens or even schools for the employees’ children to attend while they are at work, which makes it much easier for parents to combine their private life and work. Also part of these services are concierge services, paid company lunches, excursions or retreats, as well as break rooms. These factors can relieve a lot of stress and therefore promote mental wellness at your job.
5. Cultural Change
This approach aims to adapt the corporate culture so that fewer conflicts between private life and work arise. If, for example, the remuneration of superiors is linked to employee satisfaction, or if employees are paid according to their performance rather than according to how often they are present, work and family can be better reconciled, because incentives are created.
It has been shown that spending on programs that improve mental wellness at work pays off, and that economic difficulties should never be an excuse not to invest in your staff4,5,6. Among these options, you can choose the most cost-effective ones for yourself and compete more effectively in the marketplace with the resulting benefits, such as employee motivation and team building.
What can you do alone?
Even if all these things fall on deaf ears, you can improve your mental wellness at work yourself. After mindfulness meditations, for example, one experiences significantly fewer conflicts between work and profession and is also more satisfied with one’s work-life balance7. For this, we advise you to go check out our meditation sessions for individuals here.
To better balance work and private life, one should have a job that offers a corporate culture that actively supports this mentality and provides the appropriate services, time slots, financial programs and information. After all, it is the company itself that benefits the most. Partial aspects of these interventions can also be requested or proposed individually. In addition, mindfulness is another useful tool for this. If you want to learn more about it, you will quickly find what you are looking for at mindfulife.de.
1 Shanafelt, T. D., Hasan, O., Dyrbye, L. N., Sinsky, C., Satele, D., Sloan, J., & West, C. P. (2015). Changes in Burnout and Satisfaction with Work-Life Balance in Physicians and the General US Working Population between 2011 and 2014. , (12), 1600–1613. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2015.08.023
2 Starmer, A. J., Frintner, M. P., & Freed, G. L. (2016). Work-life balance, burnout, and satisfaction of early career pediatricians. , (4). https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2015-3183
3 Thompson, C. A. (2002). Managing the work-life balancing act: An introductory exercise. , (2), 205–220. https://doi.org/10.1177/105256290202600206
4 Tavoletti, E., & Quader, M. S. (2011). Work-life balance interventions prevalent in the Indian industry. , (2), 108–127.
5 Abendroth, A. K., & den Dulk, L. (2011). Support for the work-life balance in europe: The impact of state, workplace and family support on work-life balance satisfaction. , (2), 234–256. https://doi.org/10.1177/0950017011398892
6 Brough, P., & O’Driscoll, M. P. (2010). Organizational interventions for balancing work and home demands: An overview. , (3), 280–297. https://doi.org/10.1080/02678373.2010.506808
7 Michel, A., Bosch, C., & Rexroth, M. (2014). Mindfulness as a cognitive-emotional segmentation strategy: An intervention promoting work-life balance. , (4), 733–754. https://doi.org/10.1111/joop.12072