In my opinion, mental health is one of the essential aspects of HR for all companies. Although ensuring an employee’s psychological well-being was not considered an important element of the organization’s successful work, in recent years, the attitude to this issue has changed. Companies have become more aware of their responsibility to ensure employees’ physical and mental health. From my point of view, a happy employee is an effective employee; therefore, workers’ mental health control and support are significant in the modern world. If employees are psychologically tired and stressed, the overall business effectiveness decreases as workers cannot fulfill their responsibilities properly. Therefore, I consider mental health to be a crucial aspect, especially in the modern world overloaded with information, stress, and social expectations.
In the future, I would like to examine people’s mentalities to develop innovations and modifications in this aspect of HR and lower the challenges in the working environment. Nowadays, companies strive to build relationships with their employees on the win-win principle and invest money in their health, well-being, and development in a much more comprehensive range than workdays suggest. I support such a direction for the company’s development and find ways of decreasing stress levels at working places.
From my point of view, the modern environment cannot be considered absolutely healthy; however, due to recent improvements, progress in this area can be observed. In my opinion, the most crucial current stress factors are the pandemic, self-isolation, and problems in business. As a result of COVID-19, cases of professional burnout, which is also called emotional burnout, have become more frequent (Maddox-Daines, 2021). I cannot consider mental health support to be effective not only because of the measures undertaken but also based on the overall healthy-seek ratio. It is estimated that one in six people of working age has a mental illness, which is associated with very high personal and economic costs. Mental disorders are one of the leading causes of disability due to disease and reduced productivity (Pestonjee et al., 2017). Prolonged stay in this mode of operation, provided sufficient involvement in the processes there, can cause psychological problems in a person. For example, they might experience depression, stress, increased anxiety, insomnia, etc.
From my viewpoint, due to the peculiarities of modern business management, people with type of psychology toxic narcissism are usually in leadership positions which leads to the undermining of the psychological environment as well. If such an employee occupies a leadership position at any level of control, they have various tools in their authority to manipulate people and manage the situation in their interests (Hadiyat et al., 2020). If such individuals are present in the management team, all subordinates experience high pressure from their supervisors and get emotionally unstable even faster than in average conditions.
The evolvement of the Current Environment
Regardless of all the negative sides of the current mental health position in companies’ priorities, I can see the improvement and increasing popularity in employees’ mental health in the business environment around the world. And in 2020, with the pandemic and the quarantine provoked by it, this topic took an important place in the top discussions of leaders and HR specialists in companies (Mathew, 2020). I support the idea of the growing importance of mental health maintenance as one of the core elements of the company’s policies. It is evident that an employee who has insomnia constantly feels tired and will not be attentive, creative, or think innovatively (Azoulay et al., 2020). They will automatically work out their 8 hours a day and make many mistakes from lack of concentration (Bohlmeijer et al., 2021). In my opinion, it is evident that completely ignoring the issue of the mental health of employees carries significant risks for business.
Improve employees’ mental health; various innovations are applied to maintain and improve their emotional and mental well-being; however, I do not consider all of them effective enough. The employees that show a severe psychological condition are offered the help of a psychologist. In addition, an innovation such as an online course for employees with self-discipline and stress relief lessons is often used (Bjerke, 2020). Many companies purchase a corporate package and visit the gym virtually with the whole team to combine mental health care and team building. Innovations such as low-cost online programs on breathing techniques and meditations are popular. However, I think that online courses sometimes put even more pressure on the workers as such training is an addition to their responsibilities. To my mind, such classes often lead to a lack of leisure time among employees.
I find such events as creative masterminds held in an online format effective as they train positive thinking among employees. Masterminds are communities of people who meet regularly to motivate each other to solve personal and professional problems, exchange knowledge and experience, and get support (Veluchamy et al., 2021). Also, many companies offer platforms to employees to help them cope with mental issues without the personal consultations of specialists. I think mental health training is important as it is based on small training lessons and tasks that do not take much time.
At the moment, employee support programs are gaining popularity: participants can consult with psychotherapists for free; however, they may face some obstacles. In my opinion, although the market for employee support programs in the United States is developing rapidly, it is still tiny in absolute terms. In addition, the problem may arise not only from the management but also from the employees (Luiters, 2021). I think that in modern society, the concept of mental health is not well established and needs development as well.
According to my observation, among the older generation, it is not customary to turn to a psychologist. Additionally, based on my experience, few people dare to talk about their experiences and stresses, even with their closest relatives. They fear that depression can be perceived as a sign of weakness or inability of a person to cope with life circumstances (Pal et al., 2019). Sometimes employees can reassure themselves that their deteriorated state of mind is not a mental disorder or illness requiring qualified psychological help (Roelen et al., 2018). However, I presume without contacting a psychologist in time, they can continue to push themselves into the abyss of depression.
I am excited by the fight against prejudice about mental health among employees, as the issue seems essential to me. Thus, the unhealthy mental situation is aggravated by the historically tricky relations of citizens with psychiatry, the fear of doctors, and the stigma of the mentally ill (Newey, 2021). I am most attracted to eliminating mental health illiteracy, prejudice, and distrust of psychologists among employees. In my opinion, it is necessary to normalize the appeal for psychological help and the timely solution of mental problems as nowadays the problem is becoming more and more urgent.
Sometimes I consider the frivolous attitude and prejudice of others as a form of gaslighting for an employee in a complex psychological state, creating additional pressure. Therefore, under my leadership, mental health campaigns would be a significant part of the working environment and office life. I think it would give answers to questions related to the topic of mental health and information about the most common mental disorders, as well as provide employees with a better understanding of themselves. Providing examples of real people telling their real stories would be the most effective method of talking about mental health issues (Hennekam et al., 2021). This is how biases that prevent employees from realizing problems in time and seeking help will be reduced.
Examples from Companies at the Forefront
Doing Things Differently
I think Amazon is a great example of a company that has a different approach to the mental health of employees. For example, in April 2021, Jeff Bezos wrote the last letter to shareholders as CEO of Amazon. In it, he spoke about the company’s new goal — to become “The Best Employer on Earth and the Safest Place to Work” (Murtland, 2018). Due to the difficult working conditions, the company began to install AmaZen ZenBooth in logistics centers and warehouses, where workers can relax and unwind. In my opinion, it is great that the company accepts many creative ideas from their employees, such as the idea of meditation booths by Leila Brown.
According to the idea, having retired to the zen booth, an employee can watch soothing videos, meditate and relieve stress. Inside the booth, there are potted plants, a fan, a chair, and a computer — employees can turn on meditation instructions or a soothing video on it. The project was launched as part of the working well initiative to conduct physical and mental activities, wellness exercises, and support a healthy diet (Stirpe et al., 2021). Although I have never experienced such meditation, I think it is a perfect way of relaxation and stress reduction.
Among the companies that are driving change, I cannot see Microsoft as a leader. Microsoft has launched a Perks Plus corporate program to combat burnout on the remote. Employees will be allocated $ 1,200 a year for goods and services to preserve and improve their physical, mental, and financial condition (Ramphele, 2019). The program was a continuation of the previous Microsoft Stay Fit project, under which employees could receive up to $ 800 a year for health and fitness.
However, Perks Plus allows people to get more money and not be limited only to these categories; the program will run at least until 2022. Under its terms, Microsoft employees will be able to spend $ 1,200 on any classes or goods that will help them not burn out at work (Enkhjav et al., 2021). Educational courses, gardening tools, and everything needed for active hobbies are suitable for the program. From my point of view, it is a great initiative, and if in the position of the employee, I would consider it a great opportunity to gain new skills, practice them, and relax at the same time. Under the coronavirus conditions, I think it would be great to provide employees with some short trips as well. For example, a one-day camp in the woods for the employee and his family only, and such an opportunity can be available to those who want to participate.
In my opinion, Google inspires others to create a comfortable psychological environment for employees. In addition to dealing with the emerging mental problems of employees with the help of in-house psychologists, the company managers also strive to prevent their occurrence. For example, employees of the Swiss office can play football and basketball right in the corridors of the office, which creates a relaxed atmosphere for psychological relief (Ghewari et al., 2021). A cafe with its chefs is available in the Washington office of Google, which creates a feeling of relaxation and caring for employees. Moreover, the offices are equipped with rest capsules that block extraneous noise and light (Alam et al., 2017). They are excellent for meditation, which contributes to the psychological relief of employees.
I think physical education is a significant part of Google’s policy. Therefore, the company equips offices so that they contribute to the conduct of an active lifestyle by employees (Kulikova et al., 2021). If an employee feels a decline in strength, this is often because they have not been engaged in physical and mental health for a long time. Therefore, Google organizes yoga, pilates, and dance classes for its employees; I guess it favorably affects their psycho-emotional state.
I can conclude that new initiatives have emerged during the pandemic in various organizations and are aimed at a variety of aspects of employee well-being. They usually relate to health care and psychological comfort, a variety of leisure activities, and the opportunity to acquire new skills in both professional and other areas. I have noticed that a specific feature of the modern well-being trend is that people are offered only what they need. It is no coincidence that the popularity of corporate surveys has grown so much during the pandemic. They present a convenient and quick way to choose from various ideas, precisely those that employees will gratefully use. I consider the main message of those programs is that the company lives, develops, and gives people new opportunities no matter what.
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