Holistic well-being includes the psychological, social, as well as emotional aspects of your well-being. As per the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), 40 million adults in America suffer from mental health issues, which is almost one in every five Americans.
Physical illness immobilizes your body and restricts your movement. Similarly, mental health issues have the power to restrict and affect your behavior, emotions, and thoughts adversely. Facing mental health concerns can have spillover effects on your personal, as well as professional life.
Glancing at some statistics and studies:
Take a look at some statistics on how can bad mental health affect performance at work and vice versa:
- As per a study, about 63% of working professionals in the UK were ready to leave their jobs, owing to stress. (2019)
- A study by ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) stated, 56% of working professionals said that workplace productivity gets affected due to stress and anxiety. (2020-2021)
- Wrike’s study found that about a quarter of professionals was at risk of burning out in the upcoming year. (2019)
In addition to this, a study also found that 50% of work-related disorders and illnesses were due to mental health-related concerns such as work stress, depression, and even anxiety.
Then, there is the ‘cost’ aspect of job stress that heavily impacts businesses and calls for urgent measures to address employee well-being. The cost of job stress is estimated to be, on average, over $300 billion (per year), due to:
- Employee absenteeism and turnover
- Reduced productivity
- Medical, legal, and insurance costs
How can IT jobs affect your physical and mental wellbeing?
Technostress : Technostress refers to the phenomenon of stress resulting from the extensive usage of computers. It is a relatively new health concern per se, which majorly occurs because of the inability to cope with so much screen time, which tires our eyes and minds, making it a little slow to process things, at least momentarily. This in turn affects the productivity of employees, too.
Stress leading to obesity : In a study conducted on IT employees and how much their jobs affect their mental well-being, it was found that 40% of them reported obesity as a side effect of their stress due to their job. IT jobs require employees to sit in one place for long hours, eat at the same place without much time to move around or freshen up, which can often result in obesity. Obesity in turn can also lead to the employees becoming lethargic and adversely affecting their mental health.
Binge eating : Sitting in one place for long hours with a long to-do list and less time to complete it results in a lot of stress. And this stress often makes people seek comfort in their favorite foods leading to binge eating.
Binge eating is a way to cope with stress until one eventually gets dependent on it. Again, this may lead to obesity, and mental health issues – it’s a vicious cycle that risks employee wellbeing.
Transduction : In general terms, transduction refers to the process by which energy is converted from one form to another. In this case, transduction means the translation of emotional distress into physiological change and then into physical symptoms resulting in health issues.
Organizations must understand their employees as whole humans who may be experiencing stress in their personal lives, and unintentionally carry it to work. This emotional distress leads to physical aches (such as backaches, headaches, and the like), resulting in long-term issues.
Occupational Stress : While this didn’t exist some decades ago, in recent years – with the globalization and digitalization of the world, the working environment has changed drastically. Longer hours, frequent changes in the work culture, and change of career paths and jobs, can naturally result in a lot of anxiety, stress, and even isolation in some cases.
What are the possible initiatives towards bringing in holistic wellbeing for professionals in the IT sector?
1. Here’s how HR can help
- The Human Resource Department can invest in an Employee Assistance Program that enables employees to seek mental health therapy and attain psychoeducation, confidentially, and at their convenience.
- HR can have monthly grievances sessions to understand how the company can help employees feel better in their new work-from-home conditions, especially after the pandemic.
- Employees can also be given blue light protective glasses to shield their eyes from remaining in front of the screen. Because after all, tired eyes = tired mind!
2. For people in innovation
- To keep an employee’s creative juices flowing freely, they need a clear mind which can sometimes be difficult to achieve due to mental issues like stress and anxiety. To remedy that, companies can offer people in innovation a workday without supervision, where they can work at their own pace and time without having the stress of adhering to stringent deadlines.
- Giving employees reasonable autonomy to work on their own makes them believe that the company trusts them, in turn supporting employees in the workplace.
3.For people in leadership roles
- Leaders need to lead by example, and hence, it is important to understand and value mental health at the top for it to reach everyone in the organization.
- Other corporate mental health initiatives include conducting seminars for team leaders, managers, and top executives of companies. Talking about the importance of mental health through such programs helps them be more empathetic towards their employees as well as themselves, resulting in increased productivity.
- Organizing and conducting manager sensitization programs across all managerial levels also ensures that managers not only learn hard skills at work but also understand the interpersonal side of leading their teams.
4.By offering diverse working environments, flexibility, and inclusivity
- After the pandemic, many organizations have shifted to hybrid working models, giving employees the best of both worlds – working from home, and working from the office.
- Conducting inclusivity training to create a “we” feeling, and to ensure that there is no scope for discrimination based on any external factors.
- Flexibility and inclusivity play a vital role in any company, as it’s the little things that make employees feel good while working, despite having a large workload.
Techwave is a market leader in the ITeS domain and ignites opportunities for innovation consistently by focusing on empowering its stakeholders – Clients, Colleagues, and Community.
We strongly believe in the importance of mental health in the workplace for all our employees. In line with our people-centric values, we have plenty of initiatives that benefit employee wellbeing in the IT sector.
Here’s a sneak peek into our workplace wellness initiatives:
- Regular mental health and healthy lifestyle webinars
- Employee engagement in the workplace through activities and EAPs
- Learning and development programs for employees to help them stay updated
- Regular manager sensitization programs
- Destress days and rejuvenation leaves for employees
- Team building programs and activities to help employees understand the importance of teamwork
One of the major things that the pandemic has taught corporates across the whole world is to never undermine employee well-being, including their physical and mental well-being. And Techwave ensures that our employees feel their best at work, and that workplace wellness remains our top priority, come what may!