Disclaimer: In this post, counseling refers to a “short term problem resolution session,” since there is no treatment plan or diagnosis involved in these meetings/sessions.
In small doses, stress can be a great motivating force to work harder, make improvements, and focus on future accomplishments. Large amounts of stress, however, can overwhelm and impair one’s ability to function and also negatively impact well-being – sometimes to the point where it can have severe health consequences.
The modern workplace can be a source of great pride and fulfillment, but can also be a source of stress and tension when it spills over into employees’ weekends, evenings, and leisure time. So, what tools does the modern worker have to deal with stress in their work environment? Many employers, as part of mental health service initiatives, are offering workplace counseling to their staff.
A Closer Look at Workplace Counseling
Workplace counseling programs are provided by an in-house employee assistance program (EAP) through a company’s human resources department (or through health insurance). These programs help employees cope with the challenges of life at work and home, and provide a safe place to discuss work-related stress, relationship issues, and other life stressors. Workplace counselors provide guidance and support to help employees deal with issues like stress management and depression.
In many cases, employees can meet with a workplace counselor in person or through an online session.
What is an EAP?
Employee assistance programs are growing in popularity, and they’re a great resource for many reasons. EAPs can help you deal with the stress of work without having to leave your job or report it to HR. If your employer offers an EAP, you won’t have to worry about being fired if you need help dealing with a personal issue—which can be a huge relief if you’re struggling with depression or anxiety from work-related stressors.
Another benefit of using an EAP or counseling service is that they provide support even when employees don’t have health insurance coverage for mental health treatment. Many employers offer their employees access to free counseling services through their employee assistance programs (EAPs), which means employees who aren’t covered by health insurance can still get the care they need at no cost (since this service is usually covered by their employer).
Work-life balance is important for employees’ physical and mental health and productivity. Workplace counseling can help to identify needed changes and can also help with any challenges that may interfere with achieving a healthy work-life balance, such as financial stressors, problems at home or with relationships, substance use issues and other mental health concerns.
Absenteeism is a serious workplace issue, however, it’s usually a symptom of a much deeper problem. Part of workplace counseling is to understand and get to the root cause of employee absenteeism, which can be caused by common workplace issues:
Harassment can be verbal, sexual, or physical, either in person or through online channels.
Having multiple tasks or roles can be a large source of stress.
Employee burnout can be caused by overwhelming amounts of work and job dissatisfaction.
Workplaces involve many individuals with different personalities and communication styles, which can be stressful.
Employees can be experiencing relationship problems, drug or alcohol abuse, or the death of a family member/loved, all of which can affect their professional lives.
A workplace may have poor structure or decision making policies.
In a workplace counseling environment, employees feel more comfortable talking about mental health issues because they know that the counselor is there to help them, not judge them. This comfort level allows them to discuss things that they may not be able to talk about with their co-workers or bosses. For example, an employee who has recently lost a loved one may find it difficult to open up about their feelings with other people who could potentially be uncomfortable or insensitive in response. In a workplace counseling session, this employee can speak freely about his or her feelings without fear of being judged for doing so.
Workplace Counselors Can Recommend Other Services or Programs
A counselor’s role is to help develop and implement an action plan, which will move employees toward their goals more quickly. Counselors can identify issues that are affecting employees’ mental health, discuss possible solutions and get them implemented, and also help them set realistic expectations for progress.
Workplace Counselors Provide Insight
Many people gain a different perspective on a variety of situations during the employee counseling process thanks to the counselors unbiased view. A counselor can help people make better decisions without getting caught up in the emotion of their situation, and give them mental tools to help with problem solving.
Workplace Counseling Enhances Employee Performance and Wellness
Mental health is a very important issue, and employers should make sure their employees are well taken care of. By providing counseling services, employees can have access to cope with everyday dilemmas so they can focus on their work performances and personal lives.
Workplace counseling can be used to support a positive work-life balance by helping employees manage their problems with professional support. Meridian HealthCare’s Occupational Health Services help employers connect their employees with the services needed to cope with the stresses of work. If you’re interested in more information about workplace counseling, reach out to Meridian HealthCare today!