May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Originally named by Mental Health America in 1949, this important awareness month encourages individuals and organizations to champion mental health awareness and to normalize conversation and action around matters of mental health and wellbeing.
There has been extensive conversation around the topic of employee mental health and wellbeing over the past few years, and rightly so. Though the pandemic has eased in many ways, employees are still facing challenges to their mental health and wellbeing. Persistent and widespread stressors include conflict around heading back to the office, overwork from staffing issues causing teams to be spread thin, and an undercurrent of global political unrest, among others. This creates a recipe for anxiety, depression, and burnout.
Why acknowledgment of Mental Health Awareness Month matters
Given the state of the world, mental health and wellbeing continue to be top workplace concerns. Everyone is affected to some degree. The good news is that addressing this topic in a meaningful way has the potential to bring employers and employees together by creating a healthier workplace.
Companies must lead the conversation around mental health and wellbeing, listen to employees, and provide benefits that make a difference in their lives. Acknowledging mental health is key to fostering a culture of psychological safety at work. Corporate wellness programs produce the best results for employees when paired with top-down, big picture culture change that allows employees to be themselves at work and feel valued for who they are.
Addressing multiple dimensions of wellbeing, holistic wellness practices boost feelings of connection, which prove integral to our sense of overall wellbeing.
Here are 8 ways companies can support employee wellbeing through investment in holistic wellness programming*:
- Offer webinars on topics related to mental wellbeing – these presentations provide employees with information and discussion facilitated by a national board-certified health & wellness coach. Many wellness webinars include time for employee questions and interactions on the topic, offering the chance for them to be a little vulnerable if they choose, which can help fellow co-workers with similar challenges feel less alone.
- Schedule live, interactive fitness & wellness classes – one of the benefits of live classes is the built-in connection employees have with instructors and co-workers. Workouts like HIIT, Strength & Conditioning and other types of exercise that really get the heart rate often help to boost feelings of wellbeing. Or, turn to mindful movement offerings like desk yoga, accessible yoga and Pilates. No matter the type of class, get the maximum reach by pairing live classes with a recording employees can view later.
- Provide easy access to on-demand classes – many employees make use of wellness offerings they can engage with when it’s most convenient for them. Having an easily accessible collection of wellness practices, fitness classes, nutrition support, and webinars at their fingertips can help employees stay consistent.
- Organize mindfulness talks or meditation & breathwork sessions – Mindfulness and meditation practices teach employees to be present and focused, while breathwork helps to build self-awareness – all strong components of mental wellbeing. Ongoing, weekly classes offer employees a regular touchpoint for their practice, while one-time sessions make a great addition to meetings and special events.
- Offer Chair Massage at the office – if you have hybrid employees, or employees have fully transitioned back to the office, this is a fantastic service to offer. Pick a day when the majority of employees are scheduled to be on-site or schedule a massage therapist through multiple time blocks so employees can receive a massage when it’s most convenient for them. Massage is known to decrease anxiety, reduce pain, and enhance mood.
- Get Cooking – Food brings us together. Live, interactive cooking classes are a fun and unique way to bring hybrid employees together, creating the kind of connection that boosts mental wellbeing. These classes can also be fun even if employees prefer to watch and learn from the instructor.
- Suggest a disconnect from social media – invite employees to disconnect from their social feeds, even for a brief period, while continuing to stay informed through other reliable sources. Social media is shown to have negative effects on mental health. Your company could even set an example by taking a month off from its social media campaigns, allowing your marketing & communications team a respite.
- Express Gratitude – let employees know they are appreciated. A little recognition can go a long way and help employees feel seen, and thus feel a bit more motivated in their work.
Acknowledgment and action around matters of mental health and wellbeing can go a long way toward having happier, healthier employees, while helping your company to thrive into the future. What steps will your company take toward these ends this month?
*In addition to holistic wellness programming that’s offered at work, employees should always be encouraged to make use of EAP programs to consult with trained and certified mental health professionals. While they can be supportive in many ways, wellness practices are not a substitution for traditional mental health treatment.
Urban Balance is the premier provider of comprehensive on-site corporate wellness services including massage in the Portland, Oregon metro area and offers virtual workplace wellness programming worldwide. We deliver livestream and on-demand classes, webinars, and special events to the workplace environment for happier employees and a healthier bottom line.
Browse our virtual wellness services catalog with offerings including yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Zumba, HIIT, Barre Sculpt, meditation, nutrition, learning opportunities, and more.
Discover the benefits of the Urban Balance on-demand video library, a workplace wellbeing solution with over 350+ holistic wellness classes. Includes membership options for companies and individuals.