Author: Aakanksha Singh
We all must have at some point or the other faced stress at our workplace so much so that we must have hated the very sight of our offices. How many one of us must have taken sick leaves because of too much work stress? How many of us have felt that the workplace is unbearable at times?
An article in Psychology today, states that according to the WHO Health and Work Performance Questionnaire, most people take sick leaves due to depression. The article further states how diagnosable mental disorders are prominent in about 26% of American adults above the age of 18 according to National Comorbidity Survey Replication.
The writer, Robert London, proposes an innovative way to counter these stress related and mental disorders in working professionals. He puts forward the idea of paid ‘mental health days,’ to help professionals. He wants businesses and companies to incorporate at least two or three of these days. It is a simple solution which can be effective in two ways: help working professionals deal with stress related disorders and reduce the stigma attached to mental disorders.
The Urban Dictionary defines a mental health day as: a day off from work or school during which you sort out all your emotional and psychological problems. Now wouldn’t it be great if your workplace could give you such a day? Think about it, you could actually spend time de-stressing without feeling ashamed about it. There would be more awareness about such emotional problems resulting from stress among employers and employees. It would perhaps reduce the disgrace connected with them.
Of course, the downside for the companies would be that their employees would misuse these paid mental health days. But come to think of it, don’t we all anyway misuse paid sick leaves? I am sure we all must have taken sick leaves to do things like catch our favorite movie, sleep-in and be lazy or just hang-out at home and do absolutely nothing. People who might be in real need of these days shouldn’t be deprived of them because of other people’s misuse.
Besides mental stress days, here is a list of seven awesome perks companies offer to help their employees combat STRESS.
1. The Google way – Allow employees to work on their own/special projects for 20 percent of the week.
2. The Facebook way - Keep employees full with free meals—plus kitchens stocked with unlimited snacks (Free good food can help reduce stress).
3. The LoadSpring way – This is an enterprise software company that wants its employees to grow by experiencing other cultures. Their employees get $5,000 if they travel abroad and an extra week off to expand their horizons (Ref: Inc.com). This would definitely reduce stress!
4. The Atlantic Health way – They own several hospitals in the New York metropolitan area. They have a direct approach to reducing stress. They provide stressed workers with acupressure services at its on-site “mind-body centers.” (Ref: Time.com)
5. The Cliff Bar way - They treats workers to a 40-foot bouldering wall, fitness center, dance studio, two massage rooms and a staff of certified trainers and nutritionists. This is what I call stress buster!
6. The ModCloth way - This startup has themed apparel days and their office is dog-friendly. Not a bad idea to have some doggies around. After all pets are great stress busters!
7. The HubSpot way – A chilled beer can cool anyone down. HubSpot Inc.’s has cold beer always on tap, their kitchen has a fridge stocked with at least 50 different brands.
If your company cannot do the above, here is the least a company should try to do: Provide an Activity like yoga sessions, tickets to a game, a company happy hour, or an after-work movie night at the office can be a fun perk to help employees relieve stress and show a fun side of the company.
So are all the big companies, organizations,and businesses listening?
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