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HEALTH| 14.06.2023

The important role of companies in caring for the mental health of their employees

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One of the most common afflictions at companies is the stress suffered by employees. In recent years, many companies have made a commitment to guaranteeing the well-being of their workers and the quality of their mental health.

Stress is the body’s physical and emotional response to situations or demands that are perceived as challenging, threatening or overwhelming. It is a natural reaction that prepares us to face difficult or dangerous situations.

When a person is under stress, their body releases hormones including cortisol and adrenaline, which produces a series of physiological and psychological changes. These changes can include an increased heart rate, tension in the muscle, faster breathing and increased mental alertness.

 “8 out of 10 people suffer stress at some time of their life and 42% suffer from it continuously.” World Psychiatric Association

Stress can be caused by a variety of factors, the main one being problems at work, although economic concerns, personal difficulties, major life changes or interpersonal conflicts are also other factors that have an influence. Furthermore, everybody has their own stress tolerance and react differently to the same situations. 

Every day, more people prioritize their mental health when they look for work, as it is very important to find a company that also considers their employees’ well-being a priority to help them develop professionally and personally.

What can you do to avoid stress?

Although in small doses, stress can be beneficial and motivating, when it becomes chronic or excessive, it can have a negative impact on physical and mental health. It can cause problems including fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, and long-term health problems such as cardiovascular disease. 

  1. Control your breathing

At critical times of stress, being conscious and breathing deeply, in a mindful way is a simple but effective technique for reducing stress. Take a few minutes to breathe slowly and deeply, inhaling in through your nose and exhaling out through your mouth. You can combine this with progressive muscle relaxation, which consists of tensing and relaxing each muscle group in your body, starting with your feet and working your way up to your head. 

  1. Regular physical activity

Regular exercise is a great way of taking care of yourself as well as relieving stress. Physical activity releases endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood and reduce the feeling of stress. Find an activity that you enjoy, whether it’s walking, running, swimming, dancing or yoga, and try to spend at least 30 minutes a day doing it. 

  1. Set limits and priorities

Learning to say “no” and setting clear boundaries in your life can help you to reduce stress. Learning to identify your priorities and focusing on what is really important. Delegate tasks when possible and avoid overloading yourself with unnecessary responsibilities.

Why are companies concerned for the mental health of their employees?

Caring for employee’s mental health contributes to their overall well-being and job satisfaction. When employees feel in good mental shape, they are more likely to be engaged, motivated and productive. This can help with the quality of their work, their performance and their level of job satisfaction.

Furthermore, a healthy and positive work environment is essential for employees’ well-being. By showing concern for the mental health of their employees, companies foster a supportive, understanding and empathetic work environment, which strengthens interpersonal relationships, reduces conflict and improves collaboration and teamwork.

At present, many employees appreciate companies’ concerns for employee well-being. Organizations that have mental health care and support programs in place are more attractive to talent seeking a work-life balance. What’s more, taking care of the mental health of employees can also help to retain existing talent, helping them to feel valued and supported.

Actions that help companies protect mental health

By conducting regular assessments of psychosocial risk factors in the workplace, companies can help to identify potential stress triggers and take preventive action. This involves assessing workload, work-life balance, leadership and communication within the organization. Once this has been analyzed, they can apply policies and strategies to improve results. A few examples of this can be seen in: 

  • Creating a healthy work environment

Fostering a positive and respectful work environment that is free from discrimination is essential. Promoting an organizational culture that places an emphasis on mental well-being and provides emotional support to employees is essential. 

  • Awareness raising and education

Providing information about mental health and training can help employees to better understand mental health issues and reduce the associated stigma. Holding workshops, talks or awareness programs on stress, anxiety, depression or other related topics can be beneficial. 

  • Support and advice programs

Offering psychological support and advice programs is an effective measure. This may include making psychotherapy or support services available, either through internal professionals or as part of collaborations with external providers. These confidential services provide employees with a safe space to discuss concerns and seek guidance. 

  • Flexible working

Providing flexible work options, such as flexible hours, occasional remote work, or intensive shifts can help employees balance their personal and professional responsibilities. This can help to reduce stress and improve general well-being. 

  • Promoting self-care

Encouraging self-care practices among employees is important. This may include encouraging regular breaks, promoting physical activity and exercise, offering stress management resources, facilitating the adoption of healthy sleep habits and providing support options for balanced nutrition.

How do we do this at MAPFRE?

As part of our Global Healthy Company Management Model, we take care of people’s safety and promote healthy habits and lifestyles. The company also creates healthy labor environments, where we prioritize safety, physical and mental health, and well-being for everybody, including employees and anyone else who visits our facilities or provides services there.

Based on the foregoing, we have received the EFR certification from the Másfamilia Foundation in recognition of our commitment to responsibility and respect for seeking a balance between personal, family and work life.

At MAPFRE we care about what matters to you.