Mental health is becoming increasingly important. This is because things like uncertainty, complexity, workload and constant change are placing more strain on employees than ever before. “The better your mental health, the easier it is for you to overcome day-to-day challenges,” explains Sabrina Lepore, specialist in workplace health management at PostFinance. Her colleague Cornelia Bundeli adds: “We can see that people are being increasingly challenged mentally from the 2018 Job Stress Index published by the Health Promotion Switzerland foundation. The index concludes that around a quarter of working people in Switzerland are stressed.” This makes it all the more important for employers to be aware of their responsibility in this area.
Everyday working life: stay mentally fit and productive
The world of work is becoming increasingly demanding. This is why mental health is so important. It helps us to better overcome the daily challenges we face. This is something that PostFinance, which looks after its employees and cares greatly about prevention, also recognizes.
What mental health actually means
“Health is far more than just the absence of illness,” Lepore stresses. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as the state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. This means a person’s mental health is crucial to their overall state of well-being. “For a person to be in good mental health according to the WHO, they must be able to realize their own abilities, cope with the normal stresses of life, work productively and be able to make a contribution to their community,” adds Bundeli. To put it simply, you could also say that mental health is about the interplay between stresses and resources. Specifically, resources help you to tackle challenges more effectively and boost your mental health.
Resources are a very individual matter
Whereas some people are not deterred by anything, others will reach their mental limits a lot sooner. There are many reasons for this. Some possible causes could include a person’s own predisposition, their experience or their social environment. “How we deal with time pressure, for instance, varies substantially from person to person. Some people will be spurred on to work harder by a tight deadline, whereas others will be held back by it,” explains Bundeli. Additionally, environment also plays a major role. “A supportive social environment can actually be a resource that someone might fall back on in difficult situations,” adds Lepore.
Good managers understand the importance of prevention
Both workplace and organizational psychologists also agree that you cannot underestimate the organizational aspect. The demanding world of work can quickly become too much for people. Ideally, they argue, the employee should assume some responsibility, talk about their problems or ask for help. “Sadly a lot of employees are unable to pluck up the courage to do so because they worry there might be consequences,” Bundeli explains. “This is where we appeal to our managers, who should play a supportive role based on mutual respect.” Health is a matter of management. Signs of mental strain such as fatigue, drops in performance, mood swings or increased short-term absences should be addressed, and support should be given to employees to help them cope. “This is crucial, but not always that easy,” adds Lepore. “Stress is not something that manifests itself on a purely mental level; it is also reflected in physical symptoms such as stomach complaints, back pain or headaches. The trouble is, however, that stress is rarely recognized as a cause of these problems.”
How to boost your mental health with ease
Everyone can and indeed should make sure they keep mentally fit. According to Sabrina Lepore, the first step is to identify and tap into your resources by asking yourself what will benefit you and what won’t, what you can and can’t do, where you can have an impact and where you are better off saving your energy. Based on this, you can then come up with strategies, such as delegating jobs or trying to accept things you can’t do anything about. “It can really help to review your attitude on a regular basis and to keep reappraising yourself.” In addition to the importance of being able to do something rewarding and meaningful, Cornelia Bundeli emphasizes how essential it is to strike a good work/life balance. “Additionally, you can do a great deal for your health with mindfulness and by taking 10 small and surprisingly easy steps.
How PostFinance supports its employees
For over ten years now, PostFinance has embraced workplace health management, and has been classified as a “Friendly Work Space”, a label awarded to companies that have been able to implement workplace health management throughout their business. “At PostFinance, employees can play an active role in a friendly working environment that is based on respect,” says Bundeli. “Flexible working time models are a given, and employees are able to strike a good work/life balance.” What’s more, the company operates a comprehensive absence/case management system so that it can identify a potential rise in illness-related absences in good time and give employees the support they need. “Prevention is something that is crucial to us,” stresses Lepore. “This is why we raise employee awareness about the issue as best as we can, and we also train new managers from the get-go in health management. Be it with courses – especially for managers – or benefits such as discounted gym memberships or use of the PubliBike scheme, PostFinance knows how valuable it is to have healthy employees, which is why it does a great deal to contribute to the general well-being of its staff.