A survey out this week shows that almost two-thirds of employees feel uncomfortable talking about their mental health with their employers. This is an alarmingly high number and should be lower, however the older generation does feel that it’s improving. Bette Smith writing for iNews gives her opinion:
“As a woman in my sixties, I can appreciate how much better things are now than when I started out. My free gym along with tailored training plans, a private health policy, a running group and mindfulness sessions all contribute towards my happiness in the workplace.
Companies have been discovering that this leads to workforce engagement, meaning that staff are passionate about their jobs and loyal to their companies – and it certainly works for me.
Generation pre-wellness I was part of a generation who didn’t place much emphasis on health. When I was younger, it was normal among my peers to merrily abuse our bodies with no thought for the future. The ashtray was a standard component of the workstation and a cloud of smoke around your head only signified you must be concentrating extra hard. We ate without a care and drank liberally, with no worries about the effect it might be having. Late nights and bad nutrition were the order of the day and our main source of exercise would have been dancing till dawn and walking to work when we couldn’t afford the bus.
“Wellness” did not exist in the 1970s, in the same way that there were different attitudes to discrimination, sexual harassment and respect in the workplace. There was no mental health awareness and, I realise now that a lot of those “weird” people in the office were probably suffering in silence. Workplace happiness is about more than money Employers took no responsibility towards helping their staff to be their best – and that is where the difference lies.
Companies like Google and FedEx have led the way in providing different working environments and attitudes to help their staff be happy and healthy, both at work and in their home lives. It is now much more widely recognised that monetary reward is not the prime motivating factor in people’s work lives. The raised level of awareness around health and fitness in the younger generations is amazing to me. Many companies have wellbeing days, provide fresh fruit in the office and create a culture where fitness – both mental and physical – is valued.”
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