Mental wellness as an excellent investment

Mental wellness as an excellent investment
12.05.2022

Crops are consistently poor in bad soil, no matter how good the seeds and water are, they will not grow. Similarly, no work purpose, regardless of how well it is defined, can materialize unless the people in that workplace have fit minds and willingness to seize the initiative.

We can see the work environment as water and the meaning of work as seeds. The fertile soil here is our mental wellbeing and mental sharpness. To see good crops or beautiful flowers the soil needs to be in excellent shape.

The link between individual drive and wellbeing

The link between an individual drive and meaningful work is what gives any workplace purpose and naturally keeps it thriving.

Encouraging every employee to acknowledge what drives them and how to connect it to the purpose of the work is one of the most crucial roles of any leader. When work is meaningful, people have fit minds and they notice the essential difference their work makes, the work will become self-motivating.

Every employee reveals unique talents, needs, and challenges. Attracting and keeping the best talent is far more about listening and understanding who people truly are and can be than about their qualifications and experience. When the challenges are overwhelming, stressors to many and the work environment doesn't support individual wellbeing, people leave. That is why we have seen the Great Resignation.

Today people understand it isn't worth selling your time if you end up stressed, burned out, or mentally ill.

No cause is important enough to lose your health and individual freedom. Current money printing crimes have made it clear that having more fiat currency isn't worth losing what truly matters. Inflation eats up the currency fast and buying back health is more expensive than avoiding losing it.

Eroding the bright minds is a slow process

Lack of employee mental wellness exhibits similar qualities to inflation. Instead of purchasing power, it erodes your personal power to achieve things. Just like inflation diminishes our opportunity to experience meaningful work and life, lack of mental wellness does the same.

Relatively few people like being told what to do in every detail, we like to know directions and enjoy our freedom to get there.

Rules and regulations undoubtedly kill creativity and individual initiative and slowly make you numb. Numb people and stupid rules lead to doing dumb jobs in a disengaged way. No wonder, only 20% of employees worldwide are engaged with what they do. And this problem is worldwide!

The actual ingredient that contributes to unleashing human magic is giving people the freedom and ability to shape what they do and how they do their work.

However, this works only when people possess healthy and fit minds. So, mental wellness is here the soil, the work environment is the water and the actual purpose of the work should be seen as the seed. When the three align, magic happens!

 

Mental health as an investment

The latest Deloitte UK report ‘Mental health and employers. The case for investment – pandemic and beyond', from March 2022, pointed out that the annual unacknowledged mental health cost per employee varies between £1035 ($1345 or 1150€) and £3,710 ($4820 or 4,120€).
 

 Mental health loss per person in 2022, data by Deloitte


Your expenses just get higher and higher when you do nothing. Besides the financial cost, stress and burnout take away your brightest minds. 

Employees and mental health go hand in hand, when they are fit, their minds work well.

The source of this expense comes mainly from presenteeism and absenteeism (see the latest UK data by Deloitte UK above) but also health costs, sick leaves and employee replacements costs are calculated into these sums.
 

 The presenteeism and absenteeism data by Deloitte 2022


People leave, when their boss is an egoist with poor self-management skills, work has typically lost meaning for them and they experience an individual toll on their personal wellbeing.

A responsible person whose self-leadership level is great is never willing to put up toxic relations and waste of creative potential.

So, what needs to be promptly changed?
 

Employee mental wellness as a supporting concept

First of all, we need to change the dominating understanding of how we see mental wellness.
 

The mental health scale. The properties of mental wellness are on the right hand side.


Mental wellness is more than just being well, it is about creativity, employee engagement and productivity. When you add those puzzle pieces, mental wellness is an investment and Deloitte proved that such proactive investment offers tenfold returns (ROI is 9,7 to 10,8).

You need to approach training your staff's minds in the same way that you support your employees to go to the gym. Proactively and systematically, as this leads to the results you desire.

Just like training your body is too late when you become ill, the same applies to the mind. It is easy to train when you are well and difficult when feeling ill.

On one hand, such training is about becoming aware of the stress, burnout and mental health issues warning signs – allowing you to be alert and intentional to make changes before things get worse for your wellness. On the other hand, you’re learning intrapersonal skills, which help you to keep your mental health strong and mind sharp.

It should be obvious a strong and sharp mind can tackle challenges. As we all know there are plenty of those around when you do any work that has true meaning.

The shift from regulations to individual initiative and responsibility

The second thing that needs to change is our focus. We should treat grown-ups as individuals who take responsibility and initiative.

There is too much kindergarten mentality around, where someone is telling you what to do and every aspect of making mistakes is carefully eliminated. While workplace safety matters, overregulation just leads to stupid rules that everyone ignores. Also, when making mistakes is forbidden or punished, innovation stops.

Meaningful rules matter and people follow them, current legal and work environment on the other hand is heavily overregulated. It has become thus difficult for entrepreneurs to generate new jobs.

When you add taxes and inflation, we discover our societies and economic situations are on a collision course. We are pound to see a huge regression sooner or later as there is very little left of individual initiative and free markets. Both currently struggle under heavy or even dystopian regulatory burdens.

When you start a business and face challenges that keep piling up, you often lose sight of your initial purpose and become stressed. Similarly, when you work in a state-paid job or in a corporate world and notice that your work is meaningless and the little salary you earn is inflated away you become powerless, anxious and worried.

Why should you stay or continue if you no longer remember your why?

When you are an entrepreneur or a self-employed person, it is up to you to find your meaning, but when you are an employee, it is easier to seek a new job if the old one lacks purpose and flexibility to put your family first. A job with flexibility that allows you to integrate your life and work into a holistic presence.

When there is meaning in your entrepreneurial journey or work, you continue as you know there are real challenges to solve. Solving them helps people and this gives actual meaning.
 

To work where you want and when you want improves productivity and mental wellness


Working from home as a solution

When the Pandemic overregulation hit us, people were suddenly forced to work from home.

It had downsides when you needed to homeschool your kind and couldn't focus. You suddenly may have found yourself having double jobs. Besides your own work, you needed to become a cook, educator, cleaner, etc.

It often hit hardest the parent that took care of the kids and needed to work at the same time. Believe me, I have been there and doing double jobs. What saved me is my intrapersonal skills!

However, if you lack good skills to lead processes within your mind, you will soon discover that stress or burnout wasn't an open office issue only, it can hit you in your home as well.

Stress, anxiety and mental health issues catch up with you regardless of where you are, as you lack proper intrapersonal education.

Self-regulation of your own feelings and thoughts is often unknown territory for us. And most of us haven't heard you can let go of any emotion at will as this new book now teaches. So things were mentally and emotionally tough for most of us.

However, when the dystopian era eased up, kids went back to kindergartens and schools. Suddenly our home in the mornings turned out to be a serene environment to work in. So, most of us didn't want to go back to open office noise.

You and millions around the globe noticed that you get more done and don't have to waste time on daily commuting. Besides, compared to when everyone was home, working home alone suddenly turned out to be a blessing. The positive side is also you can work when you want and where you want.

Future Forum Pulse: Employee desire for location flexibility is up to 78% and for schedule flexibility is up to 95%

With people who have fit minds, know their tasks and take initiative working from home is a great solution.

Clearly, people prefer now remote working, as Annika Helendi's blog post pointed out! Here is just one fact from her wonderful post, Gartner Inc has estimated that by the end of 2021, 51% of all knowledge workers worldwide are expected to be working remotely, up from 27% of knowledge workers in 2019.

When people work remotely, they need to train their minds remotely. Why?

It is our inner state that matters!

When we change places, we quickly become aware that we can escape many things around us, but we can't escape our stress, our burnout level, or mental health issues. What is within us, is with us everywhere. We can't outrun our minds and intrapersonal processes.

When our mind is fit, we like to be alone. Enjoying time alone is healthy and allows your mind to stay calm.

However, what we see instead today are loneliness issues, anxiousness, stress and burnout problems. Why?

Our minds are untrained and we lack intrapersonal education. We have never had mental wellness lessons.

In that sense, it matters to learn new things and apply them with like-minded people. As the well-known UK leadership coach Charles McLachlan stated: "It’s very powerful to be in a group where there is a commitment to mutual support.  It doesn’t have to be a group around a problem. It could be a group around an opportunity." Indeed, mental wellness is an opportunity! 

Our workplaces haven't had a similar focus on mind training as they have had on training our physical bodies. As the result, mental health problems have skyrocketed, and expenses have gone up.

 

The need to tackle mental wellness proactively

A while ago I had a series of conversations with Charles McLachlan and Jonathan MacDonald. In those, I pointed out that you always have to remember how to keep yourself well. It isn't once a lifetime activity, but it is regular training of your mind that matters.

That is why all Wellness Orbit's online trainings are more than just video-based training sessions. Every training comes with self-evaluation, feedback and quiz related to the actual topic + workbook that allows self-development plans.

When you tackle different aspects of training your brain and apply what you learn in your daily work and life, you will see a huge difference. 

Charles summed up what I said quite well in his blog: "It’s very easy to be focussed on your work and actions and lose sight of why you are doing them. You don’t see how you are building and exercising your passion. If your work just becomes a constant flow of actions, then there is no excitement left and the routine becomes toil. Many leaders can fail at this stage of boring and demanding work." In essence, you as a person working from home are your own leader.

If you are an entrepreneur or work alone from home some routine parts of your work have no obvious financial reward or instant glory. This impacts your mental wellness and mental strength as you aren’t getting the results as fast as you want. Also, when others start doubting what you do because you are doing something different and innovative, it’s very easy to get undermined by self-doubt.

In such moments, the key is to be aware of what you feel and think and do.

Taking pauses and reflecting on what you do matters when you work from home. Self-monitoring your mind also matters.

You need to notice when you are tired and need a break. You need to notice when your stress level rises and take action to reduce it.


 


When you work alone you are your own supervisor and supporter. When you know how to observe yourself proactively, you can stop the escalation of any inner problem.

In that sense, it shouldn't matter if you work from home or the office, you should always be your own leader. I loved the book 'Minimalist Entrepreneur', in it the author – Sahil Lavingia – said that he urged everyone to be his own leader in his company.

It is our self-leadership and intrapersonal skills that allow putting individual initiative back in the game.

Conclusion

When your mind is well, you work well.

When your mind is well, you are a good leader to yourself. When you know how to be a good leader for yourself, you can lead people and processes around you with ease. 

Research and audits have proven again and again that mental wellness isn't an expense or just a nice-to-have concept. Instead, it should be seen as an excellent investment with tenfold ROI that improves employee engagement and work results.

The question is why haven't you joined the handful of workplaces that have the best practices and where people thrive? What is keeping you from joining the digital mental wellness revolution!
 

Working from home or remote leaves time to smell the flowers and enjoy life!


This workplace mental wellness blog post is written by Kaur Lass