Usually, Employee assistance programs (EAPs) are seen as programs that are designed to help employees whose job performance is suffering because of physical, mental, or emotional problems. However, these programs are not only supposed to be reactive and recuperative but more proactive and preventative measures that aid employees in giving their best at work. These programs offer help and counselling for work-related problems or even personal problems at home. Through EAPs, organizations can also help in improving the mental health, wellness, self-esteem and even physical health of employees. Additionally, these programs can be very cost-effective ways for organizations, especially in terms of reducing absences, accidents and health care costs.
Why must organizations invest in EAPs? Apart from being a ‘good’ thing to do, organizations are often ethically bound to help employees combat problems that result from work stress. Factors such as work climate, long-working hours, rules and regulations in office, approaching deadlines, management styles, team characteristics and like are often prime causes of behavioural, psychological and physiological problems for employees.
Dealing with Work and Life Professional and confidential counselling services under an EAP help individuals find work-life balance, handle stress and emotions more effectively. These programs also enhance marriages, work out parenting concerns, equip individuals to cope better with loss and grief, empowering employees to make better decisions, motivating them towards their goals, dealing with addictions including alcohol and substance abuse.
Better Coping Mechanisms Employees also learn new skills, advancing towards self-development and better coping mechanisms with help from mental health professionals. It’s important for employees to learn methods of dealing with problems and adopt health ways of tackling these problems. Effective EAPs enable employees to feel better at work, causing a spill-over effect even on their personal lives.
Work stress and Burnout With busy schedules and calendars filled to the brim causing work stress among employees. It takes little time for this work-related stress to turn into burnout, a syndrome that is characterized by reduced accomplishment at work and in life, emotional exhaustion and de-personalization. Those experiencing burnout may dread getting back to work, are more likely to treat co-workers and clients insensitively, take a step back from the organization and experience an overall feeling of being less competent in their jobs. Some of the factors that may lead to burnout include ambiguity and conflict when dealing with various job-related issues and problems. Even a lack of social support can aggravate these effects. Burnout can lead to serious negative consequences for the individual and for the organization, creating a negative impact on mental and physical health of the employee. Mental health problems resulting from burnout can include depression, irritability, lowered self-esteem, and anxiety. Physical problems can include fatigue, headaches, insomnia, gastrointestinal disturbances, and chest pains. In terms of organizational outcomes of burnout, turnover, absenteeism and a lowered job performance are some of the key factors. In addition to these psychological and physical effects, burnout can even lead to increased drug and alcohol use.
Depression Depression is a serious mental health concern and is gradually becoming a big problem in the workplace than we realize. Employees who are suffering from depressing often have problems with time and motion, lifting things and are more prone to having accidents on the job. Majorly, this occurs due to a lack of concentration, fatigue, memory difficulties, and slower reaction time. In addition to possible accident proneness, depression has been linked to decreased productivity. Due to the pervasiveness of depression, mental health experts contend that managers have an obligation to learn about it, recognize warning signs such as substance abuse, decreased productivity, morale problems, absenteeism, and complaints about fatigue. However, managers must also keep in mind to not play armchair psychiatrist. As a manager, you are there to focus on performance and discuss observable job-relevant behaviours and are not qualified to discuss medical problems. There may be numerous causes of depression, including genetic, situational, biological and cognitive factors that can best be understood by mental health professionals.
At ‘The Mood Space’, we work with organizations in maximizing employee health and productivity by offering mental health and wellness programs. Some of the main advantages of our programs are lower costs (owing to our services being external to the organization) and increased employee confidentiality. We offer tailored mental health services based on the clients' needs. Our mental health professionals are qualified and certified to deal and manage mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, anger management, burnout, stress management and the like, most of which are commonly observed among employees. Our telephonic/ video sessions give employees a chance to speak to a trained professional who can better equip them in dealing with a range of problems, whether personal or work-related.
If you're looking at introducing an Employee Assistance Program in your organization or want us to reach out to your organization for an EAP, write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at: 9825207606. We'd love to hear from you!
- Vrushti Oza
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