It is important to create a healthy workplace

It is important to create a healthy workplace

It is important to create a healthy workplace


There are numerous ways to evaluate success.

There are numerous ways to evaluate success. Among the many ways to determine if someone is doing well are the fulfilment of productivity goals, achieving financial gains, and meeting personal goals in time. The value of a healthy workplace cannot be understated in the quest of success, even though our understanding of mental health at work is still developing, therefore it is worthwhile to look at the fundamentals. Both physical and mental well-being are equally vital.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 15% of Indian adults working age have a mental health disorder, and that there are many others who are affected by workplace mental health difficulties but are unaware of it. These unsettling findings emphasise how crucial it is to prioritise workplace mental health. Even though it has received more attention recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of employees have always had difficulties in the workplace when their employers haven't made a 'healthy workplace' one of the elements of their strategy.

Factors that impact an employee's mental health

Workload, workplace culture, job security, harassment and discrimination, a lack of work-life balance, and social support are just a few of the factors that have an impact on an employee's mental health, according to Srabani Banerjee, Head of Healthy Workplace, Arogya World.

"Excessive workloads, long, unsocial, or inflexible hours; lack of control over job design, a toxic work culture that enables negative behaviours; job insecurity, inadequate pay, or poor investment in career development; pose as the biggest risk factors to mental health. To top it, we often come across vicious circles, where people with severe mental health conditions are more likely to be excluded from employment, and when in employment, they are more likely to experience inequality at work," said Banerjee.

"More than half the global workforce works in the informal economy, where there is no regulatory protection for health and safety. These workers often operate in unsafe working environments, work long hours, have little or no access to social or financial protections and face discrimination, all of which can undermine mental health of an individual," she added.

Effects of an unhealthy workplace

An unhealthy workplace can have a detrimental effect on a person's mental health and cause a variety of mental health problems. "An unhealthy workplace can have a variety of negative effects on mental health, including stress, burnout, isolation, trauma, harassment, and discrimination," she remarked.

"For decades, scholars have described how organizations were built upon the implicit model of an "ideal worker": one who is wholly devoted to their job and is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, every year of their career. This was an always unrealistic archetype, and the Covid-19 crisis has shown just how unrealistic it is and clearly demonstrated how shifting away from this harmful model will benefit all employees — and lead to better performing organizations," she stated.

Work-life balance post-pandemic

Maintaining a good Work-Life Balance has been difficult for most employees during the COVID-19 pandemic and the post-pandemic period, especially for those who have caregiving duties.

"Though many employees now work from their 'workspace' of choice which includes home, office, and co-working spaces, however they are still challenged with drawing a line between working and non-working hours. The likelihood is high for a number of employees to experience increased working hours, as well as increased work-life conflict. For example, in today's hyper-connected world, many remote working employees are expected to respond to urgent tasks as well as after-work emails, resulting in a blur between work and leisure," added Banerjee.

"Hence Post pandemic, a mixed impact can be seen on the Work Life Balance of employees that varies across geographies, industries and also driven to some extent by the culture created by organisation leadership. The trend seems to favour hybrid working over a completely remote working environment," she continued.

Ways to create a healthy workplace

A healthy workplace should be created, so it is vital to think about the best ways to do that. "The impact of physical and mental health problems in the workplace has serious repercussions for both the individual and the organisation. Employers have to be more proactive towards employee health. They need to adopt a comprehensive and holistic approach to wellness, supported by a structured framework, appropriate policies and protocols with interventions that address various risk factors and health conditions," said Banerjee.

"Other efforts should include assessing the opportunities and impact of wellness programs at the workplace developing specific health goals or benchmarks, helping employees understand the importance of healthy lifestyle habits through robust communication, implementing programs to increase physical activity, dietary changes, and mental wellness. Organisations can also have targeted early intervention strategy for high-risk mental disorders that may be prevalent among the employees," she concluded.

"There is no such thing as an ideal or wholly healthy workplace; it all relies on the chosen job role. You'll need to make some sort of compromise. If you want to work without worrying, you'll have to accept a lower salary, and the company will expect you to work more if you want a better salary," commented Jayanth B P.

"The one thing that immediately comes to mind when I consider what makes a workplace healthy is the need for work-life balance. Employers must be aware that, even though it is important to finish the assigned task, calls beyond work hours should only be made in cases of extreme emergency. This balance is easier to maintain with a hybrid work environment," said Rashmi M.

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