How to Prioritize Employee Mental Wellbeing in Your Return to the Office

austin-distel-21GWwco-JBQ-unsplash-1As we try to return to normal life, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to show up in the workplace. This summer a staggering 41% of workers considered handing in their notice, resulting in “The Great Resignation” of 2021.

It’s no secret that the past year brought workers to a breaking point. Whether it was due to workplace burnout, isolation and loneliness, or various forms of grief and loss—people needed a break. For some, this meant putting in their 2 weeks notice.


Navigating a Changing Career Landscape

Lockdown spurred life-altering changes for individuals and has forever reshaped how businesses will hire and retain talent.

For instance, there are no longer boundaries for remote workers—meaning companies can now hire from (or lose their employees to) any company, anywhere in the world. So what can you do to ensure your workplace is desirable for current and future employees?

Studies have shown that standard incentives are no longer enough. Great company culture can’t simply be bought with bonuses, on-site baristas and unlimited vacation. People need purpose, trust, and safety in addition to financial incentives to perform their best and stay invested when times get tough.

But how can businesses go about building these intangibles that increase productivity, and give their employees greater satisfaction at work?


Building a Culture of Emotional Wellbeing

Mental health investment is a hot topic right now, with 53% of companies now providing emotional and mental health programs for their workforce.

And it pays off. According to the American Psychological Association, unaddressed workplace stress costs the US economy over $500 billion each year. Meanwhile, firms with high-pressure environments spend 50% more on healthcare than other businesses. So what can companies do to address the stress levels and mental health of their employees?


Combating the Workplace Stress Epidemic

In a recent Wisdom Labs survey, 61% of respondents had utilized Seminars, Trainings, or Guest Speakers to address wellbeing—this way by far the most popular choice among respondents who had provided just one resource to their staff.

Mindfulness Apps were also a popular tool employed by nearly half of the respondents. This is no surprise, as the benefits of mindfulness practice in the workplace have gained increasing credibility for reducing stress and fostering psychological safety. Despite this, app engagement is far from guaranteed. 

This saddles Chief People Officers and HR leaders with the taxing responsibility of playing cheerleader—encouraging their staff to “eat their vegetables” when it comes to mindfulness at work. On top of this there are additional challenges to securing budget and getting buy-in from leadership, often because impact is difficult to measure.


Getting back to the office, mindfully.

Managing the logistics and the veritable minefield of remote or flexible work environments is anxiety-producing on its own. That’s why Wisdom Labs is helping companies tackle mindfulness adoption at scale, with engaging community-focused approaches to learning that are designed to build mindful habits and encourage positive culture change in your workplace without all the added lift.

Check out the our free Mental Fitness Challenge featuring interactive webinars and 60 days of access to our Wise@Work app, packed with individual practices to help your employees build emotional agility for the new normal.

Scott Murray

Scott Murray, Marketing Manager at Wisdom Labs

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