How to Increase Mental Wellbeing at Work

Woman happily working at computer

Many workplace wellness programs focus on encouraging exercise, providing health screenings, and improving nutrition. But supporting employees’ mental wellbeing is equally, if not more important, especially after the unprecedented and stressful events of 2020.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, 20% of adults in the United States experienced mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

6 months later, in June 2020, the CDC reported 31% of people said they had symptoms of anxiety or depression, with 26% of people saying that they felt stress-related symptoms that year.

By December 2020 the US Census Bureau found more than 42% of people reported symptoms of anxiety or depression. 

With symptoms on the rise, it’s no wonder companies are looking to address mental wellbeing in the place where much of our stress and anxiety is found: at work.

 

Understanding Barriers to Mental Wellbeing Support

Despite a clear need for mental wellbeing support in the workplace, many companies struggle to provide adequate solutions. Engagement is hampered by social stigma and the perceived urgency of other priorities, while the lack of quantitative data and measurable outcomes limit the ability to “make a business case” for these programs. 

So how can teams tackle this difficult problem?

 

A Solution to Boosting Mental Wellbeing at Work

At Wisdom Labs we created our 30-day Wise@Work Challenge to kickstart your mental health initiative and set you on a path towards a sustainable solution for preventing mental illness. Using our extensive industry experience and the science of behavior change, we’ve developed an effective way to break down barriers and provide support for your entire company. Here’s how:

  1. Making Mental Wellbeing Accessible
    Wise@Work challenges give teams access to the Wise@Work App, which can be enjoyed on any smartphone in as little as 5 minutes per day. The app provides a daily recommended practice as well as automatically displaying relevant content for employees' morning routine, afternoon slump, or evening unwind. Plus the popular sleep tools can help your employees get rested for the next day.

  2. Driving Employee Engagement
    Participants can explore hundreds of mindfulness practices from top teachers, with content specifically catered to real workplace situations and moods. From modules on building focus, to explorations of mindful leadership and unconscious bias. Looking for more? Explore personal reflections, meditations, journaling, and even meeting starters on the Wise@Work App.

  3. Building Community
    A 30-day challenge gives your team members a shared goal: Complete 20 personal practices to establish their own mindfulness habits. By introducing motivators like an in-app leaderboard and prizes as incentives, employees quickly turn from skeptics to advocates. Led by a member of your own team, or Challenge Leader, every challenge is a unique addition to internal company culture.

  4. Measuring Results
    The Wise@Work App anonymously aggregates participants’ progress on an Engagement Dashboard for your Challenge Leaders to gain insight from—allowing leadership to see changes in their employee wellbeing index, total participation data, and even popular topics—all while setting a mental health baseline for your company to build on.

  5. Creating Lasting Change
    A 30-day Challenge is just the beginning of your journey but it is a wonderful way to kick-off a longer term initiative from a corporate app subscription to our peer-led Wise@Work Communities program. Challenges help form mindful cultures, encouraging employees to continue making mindfulness a regular part of their day, long after a challenge ends. Past participants have not only shown a 20x initial participation boost when beginning a challenge, but also a 500% increase in ongoing usage of the Wise@Work App afterwards.

 

The Effects of Company-Wide Mental Wellbeing

In March, Wisdom Labs partnered with the Wellness Council of America to create a 30-day Resilience Challenge focused on sectors most in need of mental wellbeing support (Education, Healthcare, and Nonprofits) according to a 2020 LinkedIn Workforce Confidence Report on the most stressed industries.

Companies in these sectors made up nearly 60% of participants in the challenge, including the 9 most-engaged organizations who participated. After 30 days of mindfulness, the results were impressive.

Participants reported statistically significant results in before and after evaluations, administered via the Wise@Work App following 100 minutes of practice. On average, challenge participants reported:

  • 19% increase in Calm & Balance
  • 8% increase in Focus & Productivity
  • 8% increase in Connection & Teamwork

Nonprofits and Education staff reported the highest increases in wellbeing across all categories, with participants in Telecommunications, Software, and Insurance following close behind.

More than 4,000 participants recorded over 700,000 minutes (11,500 hours) of mindfulness practice related to their work environment, with the average participant recording nearly 3 hours (172 minutes) of individual practice over 30 days!

 

Scaling Mental Wellbeing In Your Workplace

The science is clear: Mindfulness is good for business, and a challenge from Wisdom Labs can be a fun and efficient way to kick-off this learning and earn buy-in from leadership.

If you’d like to explore the benefits for your own team, learn more about 30-day challenges or contact Wisdom Labs to get started.

Wisdom Labs
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wisdom Labs solves for stress, burnout, and loneliness in the workplace using the science of mindfulness, resilience, and compassion. Our Wise@Work digital product suite reduces stress, increases engagement, and builds community in your organization using peer-to-peer mindfulness and resilience training to form new, healthy working habits that improve employee satisfaction and your bottom line.

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