In recent years, there has been a profound shift in the way we perceive and address employee wellness in the workplace. The traditional view of employees as mere cogs in the corporate machine is evolving into a more holistic understanding of the human beings behind the job titles. 

The current state of workplace wellness indicates a much-needed rethink from how the business world approaches mental health. Here’s what we know:

It’s time we address the stigma surrounding mental illness in the workplace. In order to do so, there are 2 key things to understand: where does this stigma come from, and what can we do to overcome it?

Understanding the stigma around mental health

Undeniably, older generations have been slower to accept the existence, let alone the impact, of mental health. Studies have shown that Baby Boomers take a “sceptical approach toward mental health as well as mental health treatment”, and place high priority on being self-sufficient. Consequently, pursuing treatment for mental health issues is more likely to be perceived as weak amongst this generation. 

However, new generations in business disagree. Gen Z and Millennials are significantly more open about mental health and treatments. These demographics have grown up in a world where seeking psychological treatment is considered a strength as opposed to a weakness. 

How mental illness is becoming destigmatised.

  1. Normalising conversations about mental health. Mental health is discussed as frequently as diets and daily routines nowadays. Younger generations specifically tend not to shy away from discussing their mental health. It’s seen as a way of bonding with others, sharing experiences, and being more open and relatable. This normalisation has made the topic significantly less taboo, giving people more opportunities to be open to understanding their feelings and receiving the necessary support.
  2. New ways of consuming knowledge. Social media has given us all different forms of exploring information in ways older generations wouldn’t have thought possible. Now, if we don’t feel quite ourselves or can’t understand why we feel a certain way, the solution might only be a Google search away. Ultimately, this gives us the power to face our challenges instead of bottling them up and hiding them away.
  3. Discovering people who are just like us. It’s been easier than ever for people to resonate with the mental health experiences of others. People are constantly sharing their experiences on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter – everywhere. In a way, its becoming a community in itself. We can now resonate with other peoples’ experiences with mental health, allowing us to feel less alone and open up to help. 

How we can show support in the workplace.

  1. Supportive leadership. Leaders who prioritise their employees’ well-being are the backbone of an open and honest workforce. They actively listen to their team members, offering a compassionate ear when needed and acknowledging their challenges. By being approachable and empathetic, they help create a safe space for employees to discuss their well-being concerns.
  2. Access to employee wellbeing resources. Providing access to employee well-being resources is essential in addressing both mental and physical health concerns. This can include Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), which offer confidential counselling and support services to employees facing personal or professional challenges. 
  3. Flexible work arrangements. Giving employees some control over their work schedules and locations can be a game-changer. Flexibility in work arrangements can help employees better manage their personal lives, reduce stress, and achieve a healthier work-life balance. This flexibility can also support employees dealing with specific well-being challenges by accommodating their unique needs.

Do we benefit from a stigma-free workplace?

Put simply, yes. In all aspects of business, everyone benefits from a stigma-free workplace. Better mental health initiatives and open conversations on workplace wellbeing are a game-changer when it comes to employee engagement, satisfaction, employer reputation, and business productivity. 

The workplace wellness revolution is a transformative movement that is making work a healthier, happier, and more productive place. The ultimate goal is to create workplaces where individuals are encouraged to prioritise their well-being, knowing that their professional success and personal happiness are not mutually exclusive. This revolution is shaping the future of work, one that places people at the centre of their careers, and that’s a change worth celebrating.