How small businesses can ensure the mental well-being of their employees

Seema Rekha, Managing Director, Antarmanh, says to maintain mental well-being at the workplace, organisations must cater to the three aspects of the biopsychosocial model of well-being.
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The current world sees a plethora of startups, small and medium enterprises that are thriving and bringing something unique to the market each time. At this point, considering their challenges sheds light on not only their limited resources and infrastructure but also the inability to hire and retain a productive team.

Once a team is created, it is important to cater to their needs and provide them a constructive environment to thrive in. However, the cost-centric decision making of the management can lead to frustration among the employees who are initially motivated but may lack the resources.

The added stress of aligning one’s own professional growth with that of the organisation can also overwhelm individuals if they aren't guided well. This can easily translate into a sense of lack of belongingness to the organisation, and thus employees will be unable to take ownership of their work. Ultimately, it hinders organisational growth.

Leaders taking cost-effective decisions is justifiable, however one must understand that an inexpensive team is also an incompetent one.

A team that is process-oriented but lacks the requisite skill set and resilience will find it hard to survive and sustain within the system. Leaders of such organisations must be cognizant of the vision and goals for the workforce.

Overlooking the need to communicate the organisational vision to the workforce may lead to challenges such as lack of connection within teams, incoherent work culture, and mismanagement of resources. This negatively affects the work environment and dampens the growth of the business.

Small steps to building a culture

There are no two views about the fact that every success emerges from mental strength. To keep mental fitness of employees, startups must build an integrated comprehensive and holistic approach.

The new age employee does not seek survival or standard of life but quality of life, hence, organisations are considering better working conditions. i.e. comfortable infrastructure, financial awareness, and a psychologically-safe workplace.

Choosing a co-working space with amenities and infrastructure is a wise decision. The concept of green space for mental well-being is getting attention from the entire world for helping individuals to maintain their mental peace. Comfortable workstations also give personal space and a sense of belongingness.

More than incentivising performance and disciplining non-performance births, an efficient support is helping employees to become aware about financial wellness through the right investment, savings and wealth creation.

Insurance: Provision of end-to-end medical benefits relieve people of the headache to cater to last minute expenses, thereby allowing them to focus on work better.

To ensure mental strength, hiring must be done very mindfully. For startups, self-driven, self-motivated, flexible team members are an asset. Traditional recruitment that abides with cost-consciousness yields an unmotivated workforce. Rather, a value-based hiring focuses on what an individual brings to the table

Work environment and teaming: An atmosphere of trust and transparent communication establishes a connection within the team. It moves the workforce from an employee-mindset to one where they take ownership of the organisational productivity. The alignment of the individual and organisational growth establishes cohesion, and drives the workforce to turn challenges into opportunities.

Crisp steps :What small and medium organisations can do:

  • Invest in infrastructure and amenities
  • Build awareness, and advocacy for mental well-being
  • Establish best practices for people wellness solutions
  • Invest time and resources in training and development
  • Generate financial wellness awareness for your people
  • Build a psychologically safe workspace for the teams
  • Provide for insurance coverage for institutional mental health solutions and medical benefits

What employees can do:

  • Celebrate inclusivity
  • Respect differences and diversity
  • Seek help when needed
  • Be instrumental in spreading awareness about workplace well-being
  • Encourage people around you to seek help

Lastly, no individual or organisation can operate in isolation, and the business ecosystem is highly interdependent and interconnected. Hence, a change at one end of the system reaches the other entities in no time.

Considering this, it is imperative to reflect about our responsibility towards yourself and the entire network of the industry we’re in. Our country has the potential to offer cost effective mental health preventive services. Extending help to the countries which currently don’t have access to mental health shall be a feather in our cap, and will establish our expertise in the field.

Mental health and well-being is a huge responsibility, involving complex equations and interactions with multiple unique variables. Thus, to build a robust support system, it is a big challenge to map the needs of general well-being and do the groundwork.

It becomes more complex since certain prevalent conditions of the developing world indeed predisposes certain parts of the population to mental health issues. The way forward then is to prevent such issues from emerging by providing psychologically safe spaces to individuals for their growth.

Edited by Anju Narayanan

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)