Workplace wellbeing isn’t something many people talked about 30 years ago. While that may not be surprising, it wasn’t on the radar of many people three years ago either. Now, mental and emotional health is a safer topic for cocktail parties, is mentioned on the news, and cited as a problem by top performers around the world. Our workplaces play a big role in our lives – including our wellbeing. This isn’t just a fact. Figuring out how to support workplace wellbeing is the right thing to do and can be a competitive advantage.
The Right Thing To Do
Research shared in the U.S. Surgeon General’s announcement of Workplace Wellbeing as one of the office’s priorities says that 76% of US workers reported at least one symptom of a mental health condition. Why would we want to create or reinforce a workplace that is causing damage to the very people doing the work?
No one would argue with the wisdom of creating a physically safe place to work. If we have regulations to monitor all sorts of physical risks in the workplace, why shouldn’t we care about the mental health and wellbeing of team members at least as much? I’m not proposing legislation. Rather I am making the point that providing a safe place to work is simply the right thing to do.
But if 84% (noted on the site listed above) say that workplace conditions contributed to at least one mental health challenge, our intention isn’t matching with our results. Do you know how the working conditions and effectiveness of leadership are affecting your team members mental wellbeing? If not, it is time to find out.
Perhaps focusing on workplace wellbeing simply as a virtuous goal should be enough. Clearly the data says it isn’t. Here are two business focused reasons why mental health and wellbeing should matter to every leader and organization.
Best for the Team
Where would you rather work? A place where you are psychologically safe, feel connected, and can bring and do your best … or a place where some of those things are lacking?
When a culture of support and psychological safety is created (which by the way, as some might suggest, doesn’t have to mean lowered expectations), people will want to stay. How much focus has been placed on talent retention over the past two years? How much effort and focus has been placed on finding new people to fill a team? And how much are teams hampered by the turnover?
When we create a culture that promotes workplace wellbeing (and develop/expect our leaders do to the same), retention will improve. This removes the stress, anxiety, and potential overwork that further affects the team members who remain.
Best for Great Results
The best results start with a clear vision and goals. But to achieve those goals, people need to be able to focus, implement, and collaborate. We need more than people’s hands and backs – we need their hearts and minds. To get the results we need, we need people who are content, feel safe, feel respected, and are supported. Stated another way, we can’t deliver great results when we are lonely, discouraged, disconnected, or apathetic.
Getting great results requires a level of wellbeing. As mental health and wellbeing are compromised, so are results. If you aren’t happy with your current level of results, focus, and productivity, maybe workplace wellbeing is where you should look. And if your results are good, but workplace wellbeing for some or all your team isn’t, if you improve that, the sky may be the limit on your results.
If you have been informed or inspired by this post or any of my work, or if anything else I have said or done has contributed to your success and confidence as a leader and human, I would love your help…
Last year, I was named to the Global Gurus Leadership list – perhaps the most prestigious list of leadership thought leaders. It happened without me even knowing I had been nominated.
Voting is now open for inclusion on the 2023 list. If you think I am qualified and can take about a minute, I would love your vote. Here is the link.