Employee Wellness News South Africa

What mental wellness in the workplace will look like in 2022

Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen big shifts in the workplace - from digital transformation to remote and hybrid work models, as well as an increased focus on employee mental wellness...
Image source: nappy from
Image source: nappy from Pexels

Since the pandemic began, significant changes have occurred in the workplace. Numerous businesses have accelerated their digital transformation initiatives, implemented a work-from-home or hybrid work model, and recognised the critical nature of mental wellness. The working world as we knew it shifted dramatically.

According to a Deloitte report, work-life balance and personal well-being are the top priorities for Gen Z and millennials when looking for a job. Having said that, nearly four out of 10 respondents do not believe their staff took efforts to assist their mental health throughout the pandemic, indicating that there is certainly still work to be done.

Businesses must adopt a more compassionate work environment for reasons other than to get the best out of their employees.

Here a few industry leaders share their visions for mental health in 2022.

Healthy, happy teams result in dynamic, resilient organisations

For all the talk of “work-life balance”, it is important to understand that as human beings we can’t just flick a switch at the end of the work day and shake off the professional pressure.

“The workplace has an important supporting role to play in the well-being of its employees – we’re ultimately only as strong as the weakest link. Resilient, motivated employees make for dynamic organisations, so it really is in a company’s best interest to encourage and support the well-being of their employees in a structured and empathetic way,” says Reagen Kok, CEO at Hoorah Digital.

“One of the ways that we’re doing that at Hoorah Digital is through the support offered by an on-site counsellor. This service is available free of charge to all employees and confidence is absolutely guaranteed. Beyond that we are committed to nurturing a company culture that values and prioritises rest, recovery and general well-being.”

The physical environment must support wellness

The impact the physical work environment has on our well-being is increasingly well understood. According to David Seinker, CEO and founder of The Business Exchange, In the world of hybrid work, the workplace needs to be more than a functional place in which work is done, but rather be an inviting space that promotes creativity and collaboration, or “less office cubicle and more cafe lounge”, as the Harvard Business Review puts it.

Serviced office spaces, a mainstay of hybrid work models, are characteristically inviting – spaces that incorporate greenery, natural light, art and design, all of which contribute to making the space a pleasant one to be in.

“Many of our serviced offices facilities have on-site gyms that members and tenants are encouraged to use. Our Wellness Wednesday programme is another initiative aimed at creating awareness around the importance of employee wellness,” says Seinker.

Empathy is key

Employees can easily conceal their troubles in the virtual world, either voluntarily or unwittingly. “Supporting mental health should be motivated by empathy, which demonstrates a genuine concern for the ideas, feelings, and life experiences of others,” says Matt Poladian, VP of People at Liferay.

The best way to build empathy is to listen intently to your people and proactively ask questions to learn more about what is going on with them.

“Empathy is essential for building an environment where all employees feel safe and comfortable. This is critical not just for the employees’ well-being but also for an organisation's creativity and productivity,” explains Poladian.

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