SURGEON GENERAL RELEASES NEW FRAMEWORK FOR MENTAL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING IN THE WORKPLACE
The U.S. surgeon general released a new framework outlining how the workplace can promote the health and well-being of employees. It’s vital that employers take time to invest in the mental health and well-being of their employees.
In the report, the surgeon general outlines five essentials to help organizations best support the mental health and well-being of all workers.
- Protection From Harm
Creating the conditions for physical and psychological safety is a critical foundation for ensuring mental health and well-being in the workplace. In order to promote practices that protect employees from harm, workplaces can:
- Prioritize workplace physical and psychological safety.
- Enable adequate rest.
- Normalize and support the focus on mental health.
- Operationalize diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) norms, policies, and programs.
- Connection and Community
Fostering positive social interaction and relationships in the workplace supports worker well-being. Organizations can promote the following practices that better ensure connection and community:
- Create cultures of inclusion and belonging.
- Cultivate trusted relationships.
- Foster collaboration and teamwork.
- Work-life Harmony
Professional and personal roles can create work and nonwork conflicts. To encourage practices that assist with work-life harmony, workplaces can:
- Provide more autonomy over how work is done.
- Make schedules as flexible and predictable as possible.
- Increase access to paid leave.
- Respect boundaries between work and nonwork time.
- Mattering at Work
People want to know that they matter to those around them and that their work is important. These elements have been shown to lower stress, whereas feelings of unimportance can increase the risk for depression.
Workplaces can implement the following in order to better ensure a culture of mattering at work:
- Provide a living wage.
- Engage workers in workplace decisions.
- Build a culture of gratitude and recognition.
- Connect individuals’ work with the organizational mission.
- Opportunities for Growth
When organizations create more opportunities for workers to accomplish goals based on their skills and growth, workers become more optimistic about their abilities and more enthusiastic about contributing to the organization. In order to promote practices that may provide opportunities for growth, workplaces can:
- Offer quality training, education, and mentoring.
- Foster clear, equitable pathways for career advancement.
- Ensure relevant, reciprocal feedback.
The surgeon general’s guidelines provide a standard for workplaces to follow to best care for their workers’ mental health and well-being.
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