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Supporting Women’s Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace


Mental wellbeing in the workplace

Onebright looks at common mental health challenges unique to women and highlights ways employers can create an environment that empowers women to succeed.

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM, April 19, 2023/ — The need for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives is becoming increasingly clear in today’s workplace. These initiatives not only benefit employees from underrepresented groups but can also contribute to the overall success of a company. DEI initiatives and policies can help businesses in many ways, from attracting and retaining top talent to enhancing reputation and mitigating risks. By prioritising DEI, companies can create a more inclusive and welcoming workplace culture that benefits everyone.

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In today’s competitive talent market and skills shortage, companies looking for any competitive advantage in their industry have much to gain by creating an environment that encourages new perspectives, experiences, and skill sets.

One important area where an effort to promote DEI initiatives can improve employees’ lives is through open conversations surrounding women’s mental wellbeing in the workplace. Supporting DEI initiatives for women’s mental wellbeing is essential because women represent nearly half the global workforce. Their participation is crucial to the success and growth of businesses and economies. By excluding or marginalising women in the workplace, companies are missing out on valuable talent and perspectives that can help drive innovation and growth.

Research has shown that a positive work environment can improve mental health.

Ensuring women feel supported and valued to maintain a healthy and productive workforce. Women are affected by unique challenges and barriers that can influence career development, mental health, and overall wellbeing. Research has shown that a positive work environment can improve mental health. A study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology found that employees who feel supported by their employer and co-workers have better mental health outcomes. Additionally, women who feel supported by their employers and co-workers are less likely to experience (or exacerbate symptoms of) mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

Additionally, supporting DEI initiatives for women’s mental wellbeing can increase retention rates. According to a report by McKinsey & Company, companies with diverse leadership teams are 21% more likely to outperform their peers. Women in leadership positions are often role models for other women within the organisation. Equal opportunities for career advancement and growth can inspire women to stay or even make others seek employment with a company with a more level playing field for women to succeed.

What kinds of mental wellbeing challenges do women face in the workplace?

Work-life balance

Women often carry disproportionate caregiving responsibilities, which can lead to challenges in balancing work and personal life. This can result in stress, burnout, and mental health issues.

Imposter syndrome

Women are more likely to experience imposter syndrome, which is the feeling of being a fraud or not deserving of success. This can lead to self-doubt, overthinking, intrusive thoughts and anxiety.

Lack of support

Women often feel isolated in male-dominated industries and may not have access to the same support networks as their male counterparts. This can result in feelings of loneliness, isolation and depression.

Physical health-related issues

Women who experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or problems related to menopause, where symptoms may arise in the workplace, can affect productivity and increase sick days and absenteeism.

Family planning

Women often face stress or difficulties being open in the workplace when considering family planning for fear it may stop their career progression

What can businesses do to support DEI initiatives for women’s mental wellbeing in the workplace?

Here are a few suggestions:

Conduct regular mental health training covering diversity, equity, and inclusion. Regular training for all employees, including managers and executives, can help increase awareness and understanding of women’s unique challenges in the workplace. It can also provide practical tools employers can adopt when creating an inclusive work environment.

Reevaluate workplace norms. This can be done through a mental health audit with a Onebright consultant who can highlight areas in the business where added support for women can help balance work and personal responsibilities.

Foster a supportive company culture at all levels: Encouraging open communication, providing support for mental health, and creating safe spaces for employees to discuss mental health concerns can help create a supportive workplace culture.

Provide access to mental health resources: Do employees know where or who to turn to during times of increased mental pressure? Perhaps a worker lost a family member or possibly undergoing a life-changing diagnosis. Are there easily accessible resources communicated to everyone within the company?

DEI initiatives for women

Women’s mental wellbeing is a moral imperative and a smart business decision. By addressing women’s unique mental wellbeing challenges in the workplace through DEI initiatives and policies, companies can help create a more inclusive and supportive workplace culture that benefits all employees.

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