Nava Strategy

Workplace Wellness and Stressors

Talking positively about health is important to promote wellness, reduce absenteeism and increase retention. Health and wellness in the workplace can vary depending on factors such as industry, company size, resources, and culture. However, some common issues and best practices for addressing these are shared below. As management knows, decreased productivity and engagement often results from fatigue, stress, and dissatisfaction caused by overworking, which is a cycle that impacts wellness and productivity. Burnout, on the other hand can greatly impact work productivity, focus and presents itself as physical and emotional exhaustion. Later in this article, we poses ten questions to ask yourself to determine if you’re ready to address workplace wellness.

When seeking to resolve any one or several of the challenges unique to your group, a comprehensive approach is required to determine needs and gaps – contact us with any of your questions.

Main Issues in the Workplace

Lack of Work-Life Balance

Excessive work demands can lead to fatigue, stress, and decreased job satisfaction, affecting mental and physical health. The lack of work-life balance strains professional and personal relationships, which increases the risk of burnout, chronic stress, and lowers productivity. This cycle often goes unnoticed until the point of exhaustion. This imbalance also strains personal relationships, fostering feelings of isolation and dissatisfaction. Teams and individual should spot the signs, and encourage boundaries between work and personal life with flexible work arrangements and realistic workload expectations. Managers should prioritize work-life balance for themselves and their teams. Cultivating a culture that values mental health empowers employees to follow suit. Contact us for a work-life balance, wellness audit.

Stress and Burnout

Heavy workloads, tight deadlines, and high-pressure environments can contribute to stress and burnout among employees. Chronic stress can lead to physical health issues such as cardiovascular problems and weakened immune systems. The solutions should not be implemented late. Burnout and stress both have serious and longer term health impacts. Often employees require medical interventions or lengthy time away from work to recover. Ensure that workplace wellness inspires genuine health for all. Taking a sick leave, only to return to growing and unmanageable workloads, difficult staff and limited resources exacerbates the issues. Returning to the same environment that creates stress, sounds counter-intuitive. Implementing strategies such as workload management, flexible work arrangements, and promoting work-life balance. Often due to roles or gender norms or perceptions – asking for help, overcoming perfectionism, throwing your life into your work – are all habits that are difficult to break and require long-term solutions, self-awareness, and diverse therapeutic modalities. Getting to the source – is there sufficient management and team support and allocation of work? Do we have the language to ask for help and provide help? Is there a culture of encouraged teamwork? (Backed by adequate recognition and compensation).

Difficult People

Dealing with difficult coworkers and bosses can cause stress, anxiety, and lowered self-esteem due to resentment, unresolved conflicts, unspoken perceptions, and unrealistic expectations. Negative interactions can slowly erode self-esteem, causing individuals to doubt their abilities and values. We’ve heard of the generational differences in work attitudes, communication, and “quiet quitting.” Hostile work environments, are not only a legal concern, but also lead to isolation, burnout, and depression. Encourage open communication, addressing conflict and not ignoring it, effective conflict resolution training (tailored to your group’s needs), providing avenues for employees to express concerns without fear of retaliation, and managing conflict constructively and proactively. Often, repair is approached from a third party perspective such as HR or the employer, which may sweep the issue under the rug. Company reputation is at risk here, as public knowledge spreads like wildfire. We require a better approach to reconciliation, one that is not rooted in HR ploys – where we genuinely treat one another in empathetic ways and address the harm that is done – and to repair, rather than to punish and silence. Setting clear boundaries with difficult people can help mitigate negative impacts while supporting a culture of resolution, prevention, and camaraderie. Promote work-life balance initiatives and effective leadership to foster a positive work environment.

Mental Health Stigma

The stigma surrounding mental health continues and requires a gender based analysis as well as a cultural one. The prejudice, real or perceived can prevent employees from seeking help or disclosing their struggles, leading to untreated mental health conditions, fractured relationships, and decreased workplace reciprocity. Instead, foster a culture of openness and support regarding mental health by promoting awareness, offering training on mental health literacy, and normalizing conversations about mental well-being. This is a long-term approach to supporting teams and larger society (their families and friends). A singular duplicated workshop on mental health is insufficient. Ensure that it is tailored. Provide access to confidential mental health resources and encourage managers to create a supportive environment for their team members. There are many evidence based practices for reducing mental health illness and symptoms that can be implemented in organizations adjusting for industry, culture and other demographics.

Work-Related Injuries and Ergonomics

The number of workplace injuries and fatalities are often increasing in Canada, with the exception of slower work period during COVID-19. The highest rates are often among young workers. Poor ergonomics and unsafe work practices can result in work-related injuries, such as strains, sprains, and repetitive motion injuries. Investing proactively in these areas ensures workers can stay at work or prevent injuries altogether. Conduct ergonomic and safety assessments regularly to identify and address risk factors. Provide ergonomic equipment and training to ensure proper workstation setup and safe work practices. Encourage regular breaks and stretching exercises to reduce the risk of injury.

Sedentary Lifestyle

Growing research shows remote work can lead to longer stretches of uninterrupted sitting, exceeding the recommended 30-minute limit. These extended periods are particularly concerning for health. Prolonged sitting and lack of physical activity can lead to various health problems, including obesity, cardiovascular issues, and musculoskeletal disorders. Promoting regular movement breaks, offering ergonomic workstations, and encouraging employees to engage in physical activity through initiatives like wellness challenges, gym memberships, or on-site fitness classes, are some solutions.

Poor Nutrition

With the cost of living crisis in most parts of the world, affording adequate and nutritious food can be difficult. Health behaviours are also difficult to address and modify, but possible. Unhealthy eating habits, such as those mentioned above, coupled with eating habits – consuming sugary snacks, processed foods, and under-consuming healthy foods, can negatively impact health, focus, moods, and productivity. Providing access to nutritious food options in the workplace, such as healthy snacks, fruits, and vegetables are simple solutions. Offer educational resources on nutrition and encourage healthy eating habits through wellness programs and initiatives, for example hiring a naturopath or nutritionist to provide a work plan for employees.

Encourage open communication, with reprimand, and provide additional resources for stress management and mental health support, such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) or counseling services, as well as consistent wellness initiatives that are tailored to your groups needs.

Wellness Audit (Free!)

Use this guideline as a discussion point for making future decisions or surveying your team.

  1. Are employees reporting increased stress levels?
  2. Are employees reporting increased signs of burnout? (burnout and stress differ)
  3. Have there been recent changes in workload, work environment, or company policies that may impact employee well-being?
  4. Are there noticeable changes in behavior or performance that could indicate underlying health or wellness issues?
  5. Are employees often taking sick leave? (this may be due to avoiding the workplace, or genuine health challenges as a result of events in the workplace)
  6. Have there been concerns raised by employees regarding work-life balance or workplace stress?
  7. Is there a lack of participation or engagement in existing wellness programs or initiatives? Why?
  8. Have there been recent incidents of conflict or tension within the workplace that may affect employee morale and mental health? Have you honestly analyzed the source?
  9. Are there specific demographics within the workforce that may be more vulnerable to stress or health-related issues?
  10. Has there been an increase in turnover or retention that could be related to employee well-being?
  11. Are there industry-specific factors, such as high-pressure deadlines or demanding client expectations, that may impact employee wellness?

Answering “yes” to several of these questions may indicate a need for a wellness assessment to identify potential areas for improvement and develop targeted interventions to support employee well-being. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Addressing Wellness

Addressing wellness, health, and mental health is undeniable and intricately linked to the workplace, where we spent many hours a day. Solutions require a comprehensive approach that involves fostering a supportive culture, providing resources and support services, and implementing proactive strategies to promote genuine well-being, and not just a free lunch. A culture of wellness is not an easy one to establish, if there is low morale, distrust and other issues that have long been ignored.

A healthy workplace helps to promote morale, belonging, and retention. Our values have to be congruent with our actions. Incongruent actions lead to inharmonious outcomes.

Conflict, tension and disagreements are difficult and uncomfortable to navigate – we understand. However, addressing the impacts of difficult coworkers and decision-makers on mental health requires a multifaceted approach that involves individuals and organizations working together to foster a supportive and healthy culture. We have to be understanding that the 21st century and younger generations are experiencing life completely different than the generations who created the institutions before them. These differences do not have to be ignored, but considered from a strengths-based approach – teams succeed with validation and connection, not negativity and invalidation. Regular evaluation and feedback mechanisms can help assess the effectiveness of interventions and identify areas for improvement.

If you wish to Inspire, Innovate, Impact, contact us today!

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