Chelsea Pottenger is an international wellbeing speaker, ambassador for mental health charities including RUOK? and The Gidget Foundation, and author of “The Mindful High Performer.” Here she offers advice for leaders looking to encourage mindfulness in the workplace.
What is one key piece of advice you have for corporate leaders looking to foster a corporate culture geared towards employee wellbeing?
It takes brave and vulnerable leaders to create change and foster an environment of wellbeing. If leaders’ actions match their words and their policies, it provides employees the motivation and safety to make personal change as well.
How can excessive stress and failure to support mental wellness negatively impact companies?
Globally, an estimated 264 million people suffer from depression, one of the leading causes of disability, with many of these people also suffering from symptoms of anxiety. A recent WHO-led study estimates that depression and anxiety disorders cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year in lost productivity.
The companies that support mental wellness in workplaces should experience reductions in absenteeism and improvements in productivity, let alone the improvements in both life and work satisfaction.
Noting increasingly remote workplace dynamics, how has this negatively impacted employee mental health?
There is no doubt that the loss of connection was a huge area of concern during the pandemic.
There has been a global surge in anxiety and depression according to the prestigious journal Nature.
I am also really concerned especially for our younger generation whom not only didn’t have the support for their mental health concerns, but also missed out on vital years in their development, being around others, mentors who can help them grow and face challenges in the workplace. It was an extremely and often still is a very difficult time for them.
What are the benefits of mindfulness, meditation, and other solutions to mental health for employees and companies alike?
There are so many amazing people and organizations now employing mindfulness in their lives to improve their performance, mental health, and life satisfaction. Mindfulness is a wonderful tool to separate our emotions from our observations. And at a time when we are receiving more information and more stimulus than ever before, mindfulness can help us focus and reduce the noise.
Meditation is a fantastic way to improve our mindfulness, and we now only need about 10 minutes a day to see incredible benefits for our focus, stress, and memory.
What are some top tools or resources companies can employ to incorporate mindfulness and mental wellness into daily life?
My company, EQ Minds, is an educational platform that empowers and educates people and employees to take care of their mental health. We have online workshops available for corporations to run over Zoom or self-paced online programs and keynote presentations. We cover what we believe to be the foundations of good mental health, so that we can be successful at work and in life.
For those wanting to dip their toes into meditation, you can visit @eqminds.com or try one of the incredible apps that exist, including Insight Timer, Headspace, and Calm.