May 28, 2024

Emotional well-being in the workplace: best practices & innovations

Emotional well-being in the workplace: best practices & innovations

Better late than never, employees' emotional well-being has become a top priority for the majority of businesses worldwide. Keeping up with the latest strategies and listening to good practices (as well as your employees) is crucial when creating a healthy and productive workplace. Let's explore the key aspects of emotional well-being in the workplace, examine some data, and see what leading companies are doing to stay ahead.

The importance of emotional well-being

Emotional well-being is the cornerstone of a thriving workplace. It encompasses employees' ability to manage stress, maintain positive relationships, and feel a sense of purpose and accomplishment in their work. When employees are emotionally healthy, they are more engaged, productive, and dedicated to their workplace, while poor emotional health can lead to burnout, decreased productivity, and high employee turnover. We’re sure you don’t want that.

Key statistics:

1. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression and anxiety cost the global economy around $1 trillion each year in lost productivity.

2. A study by Deloitte found that every $1 invested in workplace mental health initiatives returns $4 in improved health and productivity.

3. The American Institute of Stress reports that stress is the leading cause of employee turnover, with 83% of U.S. workers experiencing work-related stress.

How to support your employees:

While it is always good to ask (in a regular survey or one-to-one meetings) how can you best support your employees’ well-being, here are some common practices that modern businesses should consider when it comes to creating a productive and resilient workplace:

1. A positive work environment: Foster a culture of respect, inclusion, and support. You cannot tell if the workplace environment is truly healthy just from the general vibe in the office – you need to listen to every single one of your team members to ensure it.  Regular surveys, one-on-one meetings, and an opportunity to freely give anonymous feedback are necessary to ensure your employees are heard and valued. A positive work environment reduces stress and increases overall job satisfaction.

2. Flexible work: Yes, here it is again. We definitely understand the importance of face-to-face interaction & professionals agree that it is crucial. However, providing flexibility is non-negotiable in today’s age: options such as remote work, flexible hours, and job sharing help employees balance work and personal life, reduce stress, and improve well-being.

3. Regular breaks: This one is a no-brainer but often overlooked. Promote a healthy work-life balance by encouraging employees to take regular breaks – this not only means no-meetings-during lunch rule but also avoiding unused PTO. This helps prevent burnout and maintains productivity.

4. Access to mental health resources: This is a relatively new trend, but an incredibly important one. Ensure that employees have access to mental health care services, such as counselling, employee assistance programs, and stress management workshops. We understand budget and manpower constraints that many companies have, but there are plenty of high-quality tools to use so you don’t have to build everything from scratch or have it in-house.

5. Promote physical health: If you haven’t recognized the link between physical and emotional health, you’re late to the party. Encourage employees to engage in physical activities, provide healthy snacks, and offer wellness programs that include exercise, nutrition, and mindfulness practices. You will be able to tell the difference with most, and if they don’t engage, at least they will feel valued and taken care of because of the opportunity to participate.

What are the newest strategies when it comes to employee well-being?

1. Mental health training for managers: Training managers to recognize signs of emotional distress and provide appropriate support can make a significant difference. These programs are getting more and more popular because they help create a more empathetic and supportive leadership team. MELP’s recent research revealed that 23% of employees named a good relationship with their manager as the most motivating factor at work.

2. Wellness programs and platforms: Utilizing digital wellness platforms can give employees access to mental health resources, mindfulness exercises, and stress management tools. Apps like Headspace, Calm, and Lyra Health are becoming popular additions to employee wellness programs but there are plenty more to choose from.

3. Flexible benefits programs: Offering personalized benefits that cater to individual needs can significantly enhance employee well-being. This can include mental health days, wellness stipends, and customized wellness plans. We have plenty of case studies on how businesses use MELP benefits to create a personalized care package for their employees – reach out if you’d like to learn more.

4. Gamification of wellness programs: While most businesses have some sort of wellness program by now, more and more of them are incorporating gamification to increase employee engagement and make it worthwhile. Why do it, if no one is using them? This can involve challenges, rewards, and social elements that make wellness activities more enjoyable and motivating. And yes, there are tools for that, so you don’t have to worry about additional workload counting points and buying prizes.


What are the market giants doing?

As mentioned above, it is important to listen to your teams’ needs but looking at best practices is inevitable when it comes to this ever-evolving quest of emotional well-being at the workplace. So what are the big companies doing and is it working?

1. Google: Google’s comprehensive wellness program includes on-site fitness centres, mental health support, and wellness coaching. They also offer flexible work arrangements and robust employee assistance programs. The impact of these initiatives is significant: Google reports high employee satisfaction and retention rates, which are partly attributed to their emphasis on employee well-being.

2. Salesforce: Salesforce emphasizes a culture of well-being with initiatives like the “B-Well Together” program, offering mental health resources, mindfulness sessions, and wellness webinars. They also provide generous time-off policies to support work-life balance. The program has resulted in increased employee engagement and a 6% improvement in overall employee well-being scores.

3. Microsoft: Microsoft provides a variety of wellness benefits, including access to mental health resources, wellness stipends, and flexible working hours. They also have a strong focus on creating an inclusive work environment through their diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. These efforts have led to a reported 12% increase in employee productivity and a 7% decrease in absenteeism.

4. SAP: SAP’s "Global Mindfulness Practice" provides employees with mindfulness and emotional intelligence training. They also have a comprehensive mental health program that includes counselling and resilience training. The impact of these programs is evident, with SAP reporting a 200% return on investment in mental health and significant improvements in employees' stress management skills.

5. Unilever: Unilever’s "Lamplighter" program focuses on mental and physical health, providing employees with tools and resources to manage stress and improve well-being. They also promote a flexible work culture to support employee balance. The program has reduced stress-related absenteeism by 15% and noticeably increased employee satisfaction and productivity.

Last thoughts

Emotional well-being in the workplace is not just a buzzword - it is a critical aspect of organizational success. By creating a supportive environment, offering flexible work options, providing access to mental health resources, and keeping up with the latest strategies, companies can significantly improve their employees' emotional health. Major companies like Google, Salesforce, Microsoft, SAP, and Unilever set examples with their comprehensive and innovative approaches. By following their lead, even on a much smaller scale and slower pace, organizations of all sizes can foster happier, healthier, and more productive employees.