26 May 2023

MIELI Mental Health Finland: Well-being at work

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Dear colleague, without you it would be grey

 Well-being at work is the result of a balance between work demands and positive work resources that are supported by organisational structures. The work community is almost always seen as an important resource at work that inspires and brings motivation to work. With increased remote working, the importance of the work community has continued to grow as one of the key factors of well-being at work.

Who is it that says hello in the morning and helps you in a hurry? The one who supports you in your success, brightens your day and asks how are you? You guessed right, your lovely colleagues.

Without my colleagues my workday would be grey. Without my colleagues many things would have been left unlearnt. Without my colleagues inspiring moments would have been missed. Without my colleagues the joys of success would have not been shared.

I have been lucky enough to work in various work communities with several different colleagues. I only wish I had remembered to tell all my colleagues how meaningful they were to me, my growth and development. They have shared their highs and lows with me. Taught me how to look at things from different perspectives at work when needed. You, my lovely colleagues, have been the golden treasures of my working life. You were my work community.

At best, we have been a great group of different people, with distinct personalities, skills and knowledge. Together we were stronger. Some of us could see the opportunities. While others saw risks. And few saw the middle ground to go forward. But together we were stronger. Together we formed a work community that increased each and everyone’s well-being at work, strengthening our work resources that lead to success at work. Behind all of this was a shared motivation to take care of a colleague’s well-being and this approach helped us to work better. Doing good for one colleague was beneficial to the individual but also to the entire workplace. Well-being at work should be a joint goal for everyone in the work community that can be supported by organisational structures that recognize mental health as a crucial part of well-being. Although we may have adequate individual capacities, we as human beings need community to thrive.

The basic human need for community

Even though the work life is changing, the basic psychological need for community with others remain. With the growth of remote work, the recognition of the importance of “working community” has increased. Research has shown that the work community is an important resource that supports and maintains well-being. Being seen and heard as a human being in the workplace is the basis for well-being. On the contrary, loneliness and being left alone is stressful and increases risk for burn out.

Well-being at work is the result of balance between stress factors and resources. At work stress and other very demanding work-related factors should be decreased and at the same time resources increased to maintain the balance.

Mental health friendly workplace increases quality of life – even at work

As the working life becomes more demanding it is also requiring more independence and self-direction skills at work. But none of us can manage work alone. On the contrary, we need work community now more than ever.  This can be small brain-storming sessions with colleagues that make work smooth and bring joy to our workdays. Or it can also be just informal chats with colleagues. Most jobs require us to work together to gain different aspects, knowledge, and ideas.  In other words, our working life needs a well-functioning community. This will improve the quality of work as well the quality of each employee’s well-being thereby decreasing loneliness.

A mental health friendly workplace enables different ways to experience collegiality at work. In a good work community, everyone is included. The most important message from “work community” is that you are a valuable part of the workplace, and your work is meaningful.

How does your workplace ensure that everyone is included in the work community?

Saija Koskensalmi
Specialist at Mental Health at Work
MIELI Mental Health Finland

Read more about MIELI Mental Health Finland here.

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