Striking a Balance: Enhancing Employee Mental Health with Work-Life Harmony
Struggling to find harmony between professional commitments and personal life? In today’s fast-paced world, maintaining a work-life balance is paramount for one’s mental well-being. Prolonged work hours, constant connectivity, and neglecting self-care can have a negative impact on our mental health, leading to stress, burnout, and reduced productivity. However, organizations with innovative mindsets are actively integrating diverse elements into their work patterns to foster a healthy employee ecosystem. A recent research conducted by Gi Group Holding India on The Safety Net: Supporting Employee Well-being with Psychological Safety delves into the detrimental effects of an imbalance between work and personal life, offering invaluable tips and strategies to help individuals achieve a healthier equilibrium.
Taking into consideration both employer and employee perspectives, the report clearly reveals that an imbalance between work and personal life can contribute to the development of mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression.
Insights from extensive research conducted in 2023:
- According to the Gi Group Holding India’s research report an imbalance between work and personal life can contribute to mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression. Statistics reveal that workplace bias and misconduct are the most significant red flags that organisations need to be cautious about, especially when it comes to employee mental health. Surveyed employers have identified a significant lack of red flags, which could have a negative impact on psychological safety at work.
- Employers also cite behavioural reasons as detrimental to employee psychological safety. An environment where employees do not feel comfortable being their true selves can result in frequent and abrupt absenteeism. Such instances can arise from poor mental health, excessive workloads, poor work-life balance, and workplace relationships, among other factors.
- The report also emphasises on the importance of achieving a harmonious work-life balance to protect employee mental health in today’s world. As per a mental health expert, they say that they emphasise the profound significance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance to promote well-being and enhance resilience. Today’s demanding nature of modern work environments can erode our mental resilience, making us susceptible to mental illness and overall diminished wellness. However, by prioritising self-care, leisure activities, and meaningful connections outside of work, individuals can replenish their mental and emotional resources, resulting in increased productivity, creativity, and overall satisfaction.
- In the realm of workplace psychological safety, the significance of leadership cannot be overlooked. However, when it comes to shouldering the responsibility, a staggering 43% of employees assert that the majority lies with top leadership, encompassing executives who occupy the highest rungs of the hierarchy. Surprisingly, only 14% of employees perceive reporting managers, who interact closely and frequently with most employees, as the primary bearers of this onus. Conversely, 35% of employees believe that the HR department shoulders the responsibility. These findings underline the employees’ conviction that psychological safety extends beyond surface-level considerations, emphasizing the pivotal role of top leaders in fostering an environment of psychological safety throughout the organisation.
- A balanced work-life equilibrium is not a luxury but a fundamental necessity for sustainable mental well-being in our current circumstances. Neglecting personal time can undermine happiness, fulfilment, relationships, physical health, and even work performance. It is crucial to identify signs of an unhealthy work-life balance and take proactive measures to restore equilibrium.
How can an employee achieve a healthier balance?
- Firstly, it is essential to establish clear boundaries between work and personal life. Set aside specific time for activities that rejuvenate you, whether it involves pursuing hobbies, spending time with family, or simply relaxing.
- Many organisations, including those highlighted in the Gi Group’s research report, advocate practices such as sabbatical leave, remote work, and mental health leaves to alleviate the burden on employees and create more personal time. Promoting self-care has become a non-negotiable part of one’s routine, recognized as a necessity rather than a luxury.
- Additionally, learning to delegate and seeking assistance when needed is crucial. The pressure to excel at work often leads us to take on excessive responsibilities. Recognizing that you don’t have to handle everything alone and reach out for support from colleagues or superiors. By redistributing tasks and responsibilities, you can reduce your own burden and create more personal time.
- Furthermore, embracing the advantages of technology is the absolute key. While constant connectivity can blur the boundaries between work and personal life, it also presents opportunities for flexibility and remote work.
Finally, achieving work-life balance is an ongoing journey that requires self-awareness, discipline, and a commitment to well-being. By prioritising these practices, establishing boundaries, seeking support, and utilising available resources, every employee can enjoy a healthier equilibrium that fosters personal happiness and professional success. Learning to lead a well-balanced life forms the foundation for a thriving career and a fulfilled existence.
Sonal Arora, Country Manager, Gi Group Holding