How Are Your Employees Doing? Fostering a Culture of Wellness at Work
Updated: Apr 6
Have you taken the temperature of your employees in the past week? I’m not referring to investing in a temporal thermometer. Have you asked your employees how they are doing?
According to a global study done by Qualtrics and SAP in Spring 2020, a large majority of employees—especially those working remotely—are feeling isolated, stressed, and/or emotionally drained. The study reports 75% of people felt more socially isolated, 67% of people have higher stress, 57% are feeling greater anxiety, and 53% are emotionally exhausted.
And that’s just the temperature taken at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic! Though employee wellness has become more popular tool to measure success—with HR departments adding benefits like health screenings and gym passes— most employers still have a poor track record when it comes to mental health. It is often relegated and defined as an area that is too private or too personal to discuss at work.
We know resiliency, do you?
Shanthi Project understands the importance of social-emotional resiliency. We take a balanced, holistic approach to wellness—one that addresses physical, mental, and emotional health. Our trauma-informed mindfulness programs in school settings make a difference in the lives of the kids we serve—increasing mind-body self awareness, which reduces stress and improves focus.
In fact, our recent research conducted in partnership with Mindfulness Intervention Research seminar with Dr. Mark J. Sciutto at Muhlenberg College showed a significant increase in pro-social skills and a decrease in social-emotional difficulties after Shanthi’s 8-week mindfulness program was implemented.
Does social-emotional resiliency sound like something your employees could use? We think so. By planting seeds of self-reliance, employees can be responsive rather than reactive, which will empower them to manage stress in a productive way under any circumstance.
Hey, leaders! Are you ready to help your employees thrive?
It’s not easy to hear the statistics about how employees are struggling (not to mention those forced out of the workforce due to Covid-19). The good news is, business owners and department heads can make a difference. Every place of work has a unique opportunity to impact your employees lives in a positive, healthy way.
Now is the time to get to work and Shanthi Project can help!
From a time standpoint, what we do for work takes up the majority of our lives. Americans spend nearly 9 hours a day (1,800 hours a year) at work—more hours than the labor force of any other industrial nation. Corporations also have structures, and accountability systems that make it easier for people to make changes in their lives.
In addition, our work influences our sense of self and purpose. With our new launch of Shanthi @Work, we stand ready to serve businesses across the region with customized mindfulness training on-site or online. We address your team's biggest pain points, teach practical mindfulness techniques, and reporting to show the program’s success.
8 reasons why decisions-makers should be investing in mindfulness training:
1. Reduce Staff Stress
The biggest advantage of mindfulness in the workplace is reducing stress – a dominant cause of employee disengagement that can also increase absenteeism and hinder productivity. Eighty percent of employees report that they feel stress at work and need help learning how to manage it. And 65% of workers said that workplace stress had caused difficulties during their workday.
Demanding jobs and their stress do more than make us unhappy, it can also make us sick. Chronic stress has been linked to serious health consequences, such as depression, weight gain, autoimmune diseases, and even heart attack risk. And, did you know, the American Institute of Stress reports that unanticipated absenteeism is estimated to cost American companies $602.00/worker/year and the price tag for large employers could approach $3.5 million annually?
2. Enhanced Employee Focus + Productivity
Mindfulness training also has powerful effects on productivity. Researchers studying the effects of workplace mindfulness programs found that this training led to greater vitality, enhanced focus, and higher levels of engagement in the task at hand.
3. Remove Feelings of Isolation
As we discussed, loneliness and isolation are the largest concern amongst remote workers, and a wellness program or mindfulness challenge is a way to bring employees together and foster a more positive community environment, whether your company is remote, co-located, or on site.
4. Stop Burnout In Its Tracks
With cell phones and laptops buzzing and dinging 24/7, our workplaces can become alcoves of burnout, no matter where they are located. Mindfulness helps us to create boundaries, so that we make sure to carve out time for self-care, play, and much-needed rest, even when our work blends with our home life.
5. Foster Emotional Intelligence
Mindfulness is a key tool in understanding ourselves, our own thoughts and feelings, and what is important to us. It can help develop self-awareness, which is the first component of emotional intelligence and is the basis for developing other emotional intelligence skills.
6. Retain Top Talent
The workforce has become increasingly transitory. Experts estimate that unwanted turnover can cost up to 200 percent of an employee's annual salary. In a recent study, researchers examined the relationship between company mindfulness training and retention and found a relationship between mindfulness and higher levels of commitment among employees to their current employer.
7. Reach Higher Level Resilience
The one quality that is touted as the most valuable in the digital age? Resilience. We are not only barraged by stress, we are faced by an onslaught of technological distraction, sometimes making it difficult to sift the meaningless drivel from the important priorities and deadlines. Mindfulness works as a powerful counterbalance to this state of distraction.
8. Solve Problems Quickly + Creatively
Researchers at Erasmus University in the Netherlands, wanted to understand the impact of mindfulness training on creativity. They found that just a few minutes of mindfulness practice led to statistically significant increases in "divergent thinking" and also increased the range of ideas subjects were able to generate.
Mindfulness frees your brain from distractions. This boosts your ability to look at the things around you in a new way and think with more innovation. When you are facing a challenge, and you practice mindfulness, you may be able to process the information in a different way that is needed for a resolution.
A Sound Investment & the Right Thing to Do
We’ve all heard prominent companies such as Google, Target, and Aetna, have formal mindfulness programs to promote stress reduction and employee engagement. But did you know local employers such as the Pyramid Group, Phoebe Ministries, and Crayola also have implemented on-site or remote mindfulness training? At the end of 6-week mindfulness sessions I conducted about three years back, Lehigh Valley workers reported feeling less stressed at work and at home, and some even got a better night’s sleep.
(ABOVE: Data from a study with Duke University through Aetna’s Mindfulness and Wellness Initiative that included responses from more than 10,000 employees.)
Mindfulness is a sound investment -- one that pays out on a variety of different levels. But it’s also just the right thing. As my teacher and Max Strom says:
“It is plainly obvious that trying to build a sound and healthy company while destroying the personal health of its creators and workers is not a viable or sustainable strategy or ROI. A vital wellness program is not only the smart thing to do as it will positively reflect in your bottom line, it is also the moral thing to do – the right thing to do.”
Written by Shanthi Project teacher, Kelly Prentice.