For the past decade or so, one of the biggest benefits advertised to employees is recreation – ping-pong and video games on site! Snacks! Bean bag chairs in the breakroom! It seems that all this is to keep their employees focus AT (although not necessarily ON) work while ignoring some basic needs that perhaps should be focused on instead, things such as the health and wellness of employees.
One of these areas that is now getting talked about more frequently, although perhaps not necessarily in the professional arena, is the subject of mental wellness. In an office environment, there is often an emphasis placed on illnesses that are avoidable (hand sanitizing stations, staying home when you are sick, basic hygiene reminders) but what about illness that go unseen and sometimes untreated such as depression and anxiety?
"Depression" as defined by the American Psychiatric Association “negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act”. Consider that definition and frame it in the context of the workplace, this should be a concern of all employers. You are talking about a condition that disrupts the basic functionality to do ones job to the best of their ability. Employers are learning that depression is a cause for sick days or decreased productivity. Some companies are making an effort to not only increase awareness but find their employees any resources that may be necessary to help them. These could be things such as from helping them find a counselor to accommodating a shifted schedule. The Partnership for Workplace Mental Health has also created the Right Direction initative specifically pertaining to depression in the work place.
Having distractions around your office space to reduce stress and blow off steam is a great idea but let’s not forget that these are only temporary fixes. All signs are pointing to prioritizing employees wellbeing so that they may be the best people, and therefore, employees possible. In agriculture or other industries, if a machine isn’t working at 100% quality of the product suffers, so they have to take care of what is producing their goods. People aren’t machines but the analogy still applies. Put in a little bit of effort towards the wellness of your staff, and your investment may reward you. Even if that is just in the form of getting through the dreary winter months where the time indoors makes illness more likely, makes all the difference. People spend most of their lives at work and knowing that their work place is another support system rather than just another drugery for people who are stuggling.