Canadian HR Reporter

February 2020 CAN

Canadian HR Reporter is the national journal of human resource management. It features the latest workplace news, HR best practices, employment law commentary and tools and tips for employers to get the most out of their workforce.

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F E A T U R E S 24 www.hrreporter.com M E N TA L H E A LT H LOOKING FOR RESULTS WITH WELLNESS The mindfulness movement has helped employers realize the importance of incorporating meditation and mindfulness training into the workplace as part of wellness initiatives, says certified coach and facilitator Renée Cormier STRESS, along with the poor coping strategies used to deal with it, can cause an array of illnesses that include heart disease, diabetes, cancer, addiction, depression, anxiety and lower immune function. The latest stats provide proof: Canadian employees cited workplace stress as the primary cause of their mental health problems or illness, with depression and anxiety noted as the top two issues, according to a 2018 survey by Morneau Shepell and the Globe and Mail. One in four workers has left their job due to work-related stress, according to The importance of perspective Many companies offer employee assistance programs (EAPs) and encourage employees to buy gym memberships but, more and more, companies are realizing that mental and physical wellness requires much more than people just having an outlet for stress. Mental wellness is about learning how to gain and shift perspective. The mindfulness movement has helped employers realize the importance of incorporating meditation and mindfulness training in the workplace. Meditation and mindfulness provide many physical and mental health benefits, along with enhanced coping skills. Regular meditation allows people to become clear-minded, focused and calm in all situations. Mindfulnes exercises include guided imagery, living in the moment and focused breathing. And people with good coping skills make good employees. Mentally strong people tend to accomplish more, make fewer errors, get along well with others, are healthier both physically and mentally and ultimately can save employers a lot of money. The risks of technology in wellness A growing number of companies are using technology as a component of a 2017 Monster Canada survey. More than one-third of Canadian employees have also reported that work-related stress caused their mental health problems, according to a recent study by Morneau Shepell and the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Close to three-quarters (70 per cent) of respondents said that their work experience impacted their mental health, while 78 per cent cited mental health as the primary reason for missing work. In light of these revealing statistics, it makes good sense for any employer to make employee wellness a priority. REDUCING STRESS 1 in 4 Number of workers who have left their job due to work-related stress 5 minutes Amount of time spent on mindfulness meditation to effectively decrease stress among mental health-care professionals in U.S. 78% Percentage of workers who cite mental health as the primary reason for missing work 8 weeks Length of mindfulness meditation programs that saw improvement around anxiety, depression and pain SAP saw improvements in employee focus, collaboration and engagement, and reductions in stress and absenteeism. their mental wellness programs, using mobile apps and wearable technology such as Fitbit and vests that monitor heart rates. Many companies, however, are hesitant to adopt any technology that can be hacked or used as a window into employees' private lives. Often, people who use wearable tech are not aware of how much personal data they are potentially exposing to hackers, marketers and even their own employer. The technology can reveal which employees have dangerously high blood pressure, which medications people are taking, who is suffering emotionally and what places employees frequent when they are not at work. Having possible access to so much of employees' private information could get an employer into trouble legally, should someone with something to hide be denied a promotion or fired. The employer would have to prove that Source: Monster Canada, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Morneau Shepell and Mental Health Commission of Canada, Johns Hopkins University

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