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Dealing with deadlines, a constant stream of interruptions, personality clashes with colleagues, difficult bosses all contribute to our levels of stress.

Workplace stress is well known as a contributor to burnout. There are some rather frightening statistics that suggest that many of us are at risk of burnout. For example in one study, up to 70% of newly qualified medical graduates were discovered to be at significant risk of burnout in their first year. Now that’s a worry!

Many organisations are seeking ways to counteract the effect various stressors in the modern workplace have on individuals. Adding in health and wellness programs, employee support strategies and a more humanistic approach to supporting staff is now commonplace.
But that is of course only half the story. While our work and time spent at work takes up a large proportion of our time and energy, we do of course have the rest of our life that also impacts us. Our home life, family and relationships play a big role in determining our health, wellbeing and performance.

How often have you witnessed a colleague whose performance has slipped for no obvious reason, or they don’t seem quite their usual happy self? Chances are you may have wondered, “is everything alright at home?”

It may seem fairly obvious that what transpires in our work life can impact our home life and vice versa, and this has now been verified by a study from Concordia University and the University of Montreal which surveyed over 1900 employees from 63 different organisations looking into what contributes to the mental health and wellbeing of workers.

Unsurprisingly, having a supportive boss and colleagues, job security and certainty around job expectations was found to be associated with a lower incidence of depression. But having a life partner, young children, good inter-family relationships a higher income and wider social support also makes a big difference.
Which all goes to support the idea, that mental health and wellbeing in the workplace starts at home. Overall it is the interaction of both workplace and home factors that makes the biggest difference.

None of us have very long on this planet and most of us spend a considerable amount of time doing our work to support ourselves, and our families. Ensuring that we do our work and do it well, because we are well, happy and fulfilled doesn’t have to be something to only wish for.
Those employers that are proactive in nurturing the mental capital and wellbeing of all their employees stand to gain not just financially with a higher profit margin. They also gain from a more motivated, engaged and happy workforce.

It’s all about brain awareness and building a higher level of brain fitness.

Does your workplace have a culture that support and nurtures employee health and wellbeing?
Does you workplace also take an interest in employee home life?
If not, what would it take to introduce a change?

Alain Marchand, Pierre Durand, Victor Haines, Steve Harvey. The multilevel determinants of workers’ mental health: results from the SALVEO study. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s00127-014-0932-y

Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/60308317@N03/6920581459/”>Molair1</a> via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a> <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/help/general/#147″>cc</a>

Dr Jenny Brockis

Dr Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner and internationally board-certified lifestyle medicine physician, workplace health and wellbeing consultant, podcaster, keynote speaker and best-selling author. Her new book 'Thriving Mind: How to Cultivate a Good Life' (Wiley) is available online and at all good bookstores.

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