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Mental health in organizations. How are psychotherapy and business related?

Our reactions to stress, efficiency and productivity levels at work can metaphorically be compared to a litmus test to assess mental health. When all is well – we are positive, solve pressing problems faster, cope with problems more easily, set goals and achieve them. Conversely, a suboptimal level of mental health or the presence of psychological problems affects our quality of life and, in particular, our ability to work.

A new and important stage in the development of caring for one’s people in the corporate sector is to recognize not only the need for financial or social bonuses, but also a comprehensive approach to caring for the mental health of employees, such as a mental health startup in crisis situations.

The impact of work organization on people’s well-being

It is interesting and pleasant to look at photos of creative offices of different companies or read “Dou revizor” with notes about the organization of the workspace in IT companies. But why do they arrange them in this way?

Of course, “playful”, “green”, non-standard offices are created for a variety of reasons, one of which is workplace design for mental health. The selection of colors, plants, sufficient light, particularly daylight, creates an atmosphere that influences our sense of well-being.

In addition, certain elements of workplace design is creativity and creativity. That’s why posters or pictures, furniture design, windows or boards on which you can draw help trigger the creative imagination, which allows us to solve work tasks in new ways.

Of course, workflow organization is also about relationships with co-workers. Creating a friendly, comfortable atmosphere promotes productivity. Conversely, conflicts in the team, misunderstanding between managers and subordinates, the presence of toxic relationships create an unfavorable psychological climate, which negatively affects the work process. It is reasonable to resolve such situations with the aid of specialists in the field of mental health – consultants, psychologists or psychotherapists.

The connection between business and psychotherapy

A stressful work environment, especially in the absence of support and good communication, causes emotional burnout, which in turn affects psychological and physical health. However, the inverse is also relevant: when psychological problems or the presence of a mental disorder affect a person’s performance at work.

Are you familiar with the concepts of presenteeism and absenteeism?

Presenteeism is defined as a situation where an employee is actually at work, but works fewer hours than their workday and is therefore less efficient.

Thanks to a study conducted in 2020 by the nonprofit research corporation RAND Europe, the reasons for presenteeism have been identified, with stress, lack of sleep and concern about one’s financial situation leading the list.

Although the level of presenteeism is difficult to measure, since it requires questionnaires from workers themselves, it is known to cost companies considerably more than absenteeism, the actual absence of a person from work.

A 2017 study by the Center for Mental Health UK found that losses from absenteeism related to mental health issues cost the economy £8,400,000,000, while losses from presenteeism for the same reasons cost the budget £15,100,000,000.

So, adverse mental health and related problems have a direct impact on business profitability. It also explains why not only private, but also corporate clients order psychologist consultations.

Examples of businesses supporting the mental health of their employees

One extremely important reason that has brought the topic of mental health in organizations up to date has been the global pandemic of Covid-19, which has been going on for over a year. Most companies have been forced to adapt to the lockdown, looking for new ways to organize workflows and take care of their workers online.

In particular, here are a few examples of how multinational companies have contributed to maintaining the optimal mental health of their employees by implementing specific initiatives on their part:

  1. Starbucks responded fairly quickly. Beginning in April 2020, the company provided all employees with 20 hours of employment per week or more, as well as their family members, the opportunity to benefit from mental health counseling. The organization provided coverage for everyone to attend 20 sessions throughout the year.
  2. PwC has opened up access to free coaching sessions where employees can discuss any stressors affecting them with a professional coach. The company has also created an online community where people can freely chat about mental health topics and discuss the challenges the pandemic poses to them. In addition, PwC is covering the cost of attending 6 therapy sessions for all of its employees, as well as their families.
  3. Salesforce has launched another initiative, Thriving Mind, to distribute articles and webinars on emotional well-being topics, in addition to its existing program that provides individual psychological counseling for each employee. The company has also begun to monitor the mental health of its people through daily live broadcasts (B-Well Together program).
  4. Ernst & Young offers its colleagues 24/7 support through the EY Assist program. It provides many services at the company’s expense, including access to psychological counseling on stress, personal problems, work issues, etc.

Also a corporate psychologist for large companies is often the norm.

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