Wellbeing is more than just a popular buzzword in the employment world. As employees face unprecedented demands and anxieties, there is a growing understanding by employers that when employees are healthy, it costs the business less money.
It also increases productivity in the workplace. In addition, the digital age has played a role in blurring the lines between work and leisure with many employees remaining logged on. In addition, regardless of your views on Brexit, there’s no arguing that it has created a great deal of uncertainty.
As a result, many find it challenging to mentally switch off from the B-word. Employee challenges may not always originate from the workplace and in recent times mental wellbeing has come to the fore front of employers’ concerns. Individuals can be weighed down by anxiety, poor sleep, stress, relationship issues, substance abuse, family concerns and depression.
Unfortunately, the human resources function for many businesses has become less about individuals and more about transactions between departments. This has prevented employees with personal or work related struggles from seeking a safe, reliable and confidential space to voice their concerns.
Many businesses have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) but few take up the opportunity to experience face to face therapy. Many EAP schemes provide between 6 and 8 sessions, of which a focused, undivided and unconditional attention in a non-judgemental space is provided.
As a UKCP psychotherapist and clinical supervisor working along with registered EAP psychotherapists, we often work with individuals who are feeling the effects of budget cuts, austerity, the B-word, reorganisation or redundancies. You don't need to be feeling sick or non-functioning to access your EAP. Some individuals who seek therapy just feel stuck with their circumstances or situation.
Below are a few reasons why people don’t access their employee assistance programme.
1) “Counselling is for the weak or mentally ill”
The above view is a common misconception. The very opposite is true in recognising when you need support you are longing to meet your emotional needs. It’s a sign of maturity, self-awareness and inner strength to be able to ask for help. Therapy provides a way for us to understand who we are and how we relate to the world around us.
2) “If I talk about my problems I may fall apart or make things worse”
On the contrary, by examining previously suppressed or repressed concerns, worries can dissipate pains and hurts, to help you gain a better understanding of your problems. Therapy provides a forum for exploring choices, which produces better decision making.
3) “I just don’t have the time”
There is no denying that many workers lead busy and hectic lives with trying to juggle various responsibilities, such as family, work, and leisure activities. Care commitments, long working hours along with travel concerns can all contribute to you denying yourself the opportunity to invest in your wellbeing. Another variation on this popular concern is many individuals believe they are wasting the therapists’ time and that others have greater needs. If your employer has an employee assistance programme in place contact them. As a business it is considered to be the ‘right thing’ to implement and offer employees, especially during these challenging times.
Employee retention is both beneficial to you as well as your employer. It makes economic and commercial sense that senior managers of businesses encourage staff to make use of the short term counselling services offered by their appointed EAP provider.
Psychotherapist - MSc Psych, PTSTA (P), CTA (P), UKCP, MBACP
EAP Approved with AVIVA, WPA, AXA, SIMPLY HEALTH, VITALITY