The National Wellness Institute defines wellness as, “an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence”. This definition is based on 3 core principles:
Wellness is considered a conscious, self-directed and evolving process of achieving full potential. Wellness is multidimensional and holistic, encompassing lifestyle, mental and spiritual well-being, and the environment.
Wellness is positive and affirming.
Wellness is primarily living a healthy lifestyle. Health refers to physical, mental, and social well-being, whereas wellness aims to enhance well-being. However, this concept feels distant discussing it in the context of the corporate culture.
The 24*7 stress and undue pressure clouding the corporate employees has made the corporate environment similar to a VUCA world. The painstakingly note-worthy truth is that the employees who are sick and suffering from mental health problems (depression, anxiety) or any other form of illness would prefer to keep it under wraps till they can, so as to “fake” their wellness and be “physically” present at their workplace, which primarily means that people can conceal their feelings and emotions like a fine blend of make-up till it’s impossible for them to do so. It is very important to understand and deal with mental health in a holistic perspective and not just view it as an ‘individual's’ problem. It is important to understand and realize the loss not just the individual (employee) experiencing it goes through but the organization faces in terms of lost productivity due to increased absenteeism and presenteeism. Employees would ‘show up’ at work because well, attendance is a must, even though it means being unproductive the whole day.
A very interesting article titled, ‘feeling sick, faking well’ discusses how the everyday societal pressure to appear well forces so many people to pretend that they are okay when they are absolutely not. Hence, they are forced to dawn their ‘costume of wellness’ at the cost of their authentic self.
The ‘India Employee Survey’ by HR tech startup Hush found that 22% respondents felt that their productivity was below average as they could not cope up with their work demands due to overwork and tension. Close to half of the respondents from the survey said they were suffering from ‘workplace depression’. The statistics are pretty high to indicate that something is quite not right in the corporate world.
A 2015 study by Assocham found that 42.5% of employees suffer from depression. According to the study reports, the over-demanding and pressurizing 24*7 availability corporate culture has been a significant cause behind employee’s general anxiety disorder and depression out of the many other mental and physical problems they go through. Interestingly, the study also found that this problem is seen mainly among the corporate employees as compared to the government employees who seemingly have lesser psychological demands at work than the former.
The problem with the contemporary times is that people in general are trying to understand and are coming to terms with the fact that ‘mental health’ issues are real and not mythical as believed for the longest time and people do suffer a lot due to it, but the stigma and taboo around it are still so high that people choose to suffer in silence than seek professional help. A counselor and a psychiatrist at the workplace would be a good step to begin with to save the workplace from becoming a dark place.