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Does your workplace pretend to care about mental health? Here’s how to tackle ‘wellbeing washing’

But digging into the specifics a little more, it’s sometimes a different story entirely.

A snap poll earlier this year found more than half of employers are guilty of ‘wellbeing washing’ (AKA, appearing to care about mental health but failing to provide any real or tangible benefits) – in a similar way to greenwashing.

And this can take various forms.

It might be a mental health seminar hosted… during a lunch break. Or offering workplace wellness programs… but not giving employees any time to use them due to ever-growing workloads.

The ‘mental health’ pawn is played by toxic workplaces to make it seem like action is happening, when nothing really is.

Bex Spiller, a workplace wellbeing consultant and the founder of The Anti-Burnout Club, explains: ‘Effectively, it’s a way for organisations to look good from the outside, without dealing with many of the issues going on that are causing poor workplace wellbeing in the first place. 

‘Announcing to the world that you provide stand-up desks and lunchtime yoga classes, but not lessening the overall stress and pressure on employees in the first place, is wellbeing washing.’

Ringing any bells?

Bex says another example is a company celebrating things like World Mental Health Day but not actually looking after their employees’ mental health.

She says: ‘This could be by not providing adequate time off for mental health conditions, unrealistic workloads creating more stress, or fostering a culture of presenteeism where employees are worried about taking time off to recover.’

Also, employees simply not knowing where wellbeing initiatives can be found, or how to access them.

Source of data and images: metro

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