Mike Jones Better Happy Founder
Enabling organisations and employees to achieve optimal engagement levels so they can make the world a better place
Pleasenteeism is a relatively new term that is used to highlight when employees feel they have to hide any aspects of poor mental health in the workplace.
This type of culture can evolve for a variety of reasons but the two major reasons for this are:
1) Fear of being judged or worse punished for being honest about expressing poor mental health
2) Employee having a lack of self confidence in sharing/expressing their mental health concerns
The modern world in which we live creates a plethora of new mental health challenges humans haven't faced before. The combination of our ability to compare ourselves to millions if not billions of people at the touch of a button combined with us becoming busier and less likely to relax means that the likelihood of poor mental health arising is substantially increased.
Organisations have two choices when it comes to this new challenge, the first being ignore it and hope for the best, the second being accept it and address the challenge as a team.
Regardless of what might be causing the presence of pleasenteeism in a work place, two of the most powerful steps you can take to prevent or reduce it are:
1) Encourage leaders and managers to share their vulnerabilities - Managers and leaders often put pressure on themselves to be strong in order to be inspirational. But by never showing any weaknesses or personal struggles they create a false narrative in their employees leading them to believe that senior people don't ever struggle so they shouldn't either. All humans experience negative thoughts and emotions, showing employees that leaders and managers also experience this YET they are still successful creates a more open culture and better mental health in employees.
2) Provide training to employees on positive emotional wellbeing - We've become much better as a society at responding to poor mental health, but what we need to get better at is promoting positive mental health. When people are taught through training that negative thoughts, emotions and feeling are a natural part of being a human, that's it's perfectly normal to have them and that it's how we choose to respond to them that enables us to thrive, they are much more likely to talk about their issues and thrive.
We have to remember that the environment in which we all live now is unlike anything ever seen before in human history. Figuring out how to thrive and not struggle in that environment is a new challenge, one we're much more likely to overcome when we work together not alone. This is the opportunity every employer currently has, understand the challenge, help your people understand the challenge and tackle it together.
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