WHY WORK-SPONSORED MENTAL HEALTH DAYS ARE NOT ENOUGHMay 23, 2022
..AND WHAT YOU SHOULD DO INSTEAD
Are you often feeling low on energy and fatigued?
There's nothing worse than pretending everything is okay when you're feeling completely drained. That's because pretending takes energy. Energy you don't have.
Fortunately, you can take a mental health day.
This way, you can avoid work, relax, and focus on self-care.
But is it really that simple?
Sure, mental health days are a great way to unwind, recharge, and collect your thoughts. But unfortunately, unless you just needed a break from your inbox, they're only a temporary fix. What happens in a few days when you feel low, depleted, and lost again?
The reality is that it takes much more than a day off for an employee to feel rejuvenated and motivated again.
In fact, giving someone who is feeling mentally exhausted and lacking motivation a mental health day is like giving someone access to the gym without telling them how to use the equipment. Many corporate wellbeing programs are designed to help their employees to function, deliver or stay afloat, but not necessarily to help them thrive and become sustainable happy high performers.
When it comes to wellbeing initiatives, it is important to focus on sustainability and effectiveness. The key for employees to consistently perform and find joy in their work is to implement initiatives that TEACH them how to use self-care as the basis for their success and happiness.
"Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish, you feed him for life". - Chinese Proverb
At MLA, we've worked with companies of all sizes to help them successfully implement personal excellence challenges into their workplace. So, to help you help your employees achieve their goals and find happiness in their work, I've highlighted below a few key components of a successful program.
1. Set Up Accountability Groups
Making positive lifestyle changes will push many outside their comfort zone. There will be days where you won’t feel like doing what you promise yourself to do. On days where you don’t feel like doing it for yourself, do it for others! That is why accountability partners or groups are so powerful. Having someone or a group of people tracking your progress and celebrating your success can truly make a difference.
The American Society of Training and Development found that people are 65% likely to meet a goal after committing to another person. Their chances of success increase to 95% when they build in ongoing meetings with their partner/group to check on their progress. That is why I always emphasize that having an accountability group is the secret sauce to habit formation! And besides, having your colleagues as your accountability partners strengthens the team cohesion among your employees. (DOUBLE YAY!!!)
2. Implement Rewards and Incentives
Creating good habits and sticking to them is hard. That's why implementing a reward system can be a great way to keep your employees motivated and engaged with challenges.
The rewards or incentives you offer don't have to be hugely expensive prizes. They can be something small but meaningful.
In our MLA programs, we encourage companies to reward each completed habit with a dollar amount that will go into a pot. At the end of the challenge, the pot will be donated to a charity of their choice. Besides, the winning team also receives something small in exchange for their effort. It can be something like an extra day off or a nice team lunch.
3. Get Commitment and Participation from Leadership
If you decide to launch a program where time is devoted to personal excellence, it is important for the leaders in the company to act as role models. That's because if you want to inspire and motivate your team, you need to lead by example.
After all, if you don't believe in incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine and never prioritize your self-care, why should they? So, as a leader, make sure to take an active part in the programs. Not only will this encourage employees to take each challenge seriously, but it'll also prevent them from feeling guilty for prioritizing their wellbeing.
4. Build a Company Culture Based on Personal Excellence
The reason why so many organizations face high turnover and low engagement even if they offer "wellbeing perks" like a free gym membership or healthy snacks is that they consider these as perks.
Personal excellence is key for employees to perform at work. That's because the very definition of personal excellence is the ability for someone to develop the spiritual, emotional, and mental skills they need to exceed their own standards and become the best version of themselves.
In other words, employees seeking personal excellence have a growth mindset and consistently want to learn and improve. But to do so, they need to focus on their mental and physical well-being. That's right. Self-care is critical when it comes to developing personal and professional excellence.
That's why you should always consider employees' personal excellence as a foundation of your company's success and make it the core of your talent development strategy.
I hope this article gave you some ideas on how you can design effective personal excellence initiatives to support your employees' performance and happiness. If you’re looking for assistance in implementing a fun well-being program that supercharges your team’s performance and happiness, check out our Game On! 30-Day Challenge. We’d love to partner with you!