24 May 2023 - The importance of mental health has become more widespread since the pandemic and as a result, more people and companies have begun to break down the stigma associated with mental illnesses by establishing platforms for better understanding of mental wellbeing and implementing healthier approaches to maintain work-life balance.
Mental health is not just about an individual’s psychological wellbeing but encompasses emotional and social wellbeing too. Having a healthy mental disposition helps determine how one handles stress, interact with one another, and make healthier choices.
One of the most common mental health conditions is anxiety disorders and it is especially common to occur in a workplace. The cause of anxiety in a workplace varies such as from worrying about your job performance, working relationships, meeting deadlines, job security to working excessive hours.
It is normal to feel anxious about our job as it plays a significant role in our lives therefore it is important to address this issue as it could affect the job performance of employees such as unable to concentrate, unmotivated and increased in sick leave.
Employee mental health and wellbeing have always been a priority at Unified National Networks (UNN). Therefore, one of the many initiatives to improve the well-being of UNN employees is to practise work-life balance where several activities outside of the office are carried not only to foster healthy lifestyle but also build a strong sense of belonging and open communication between employees. Sense of belonging will create a safe environment and productive workplace which is constantly promoted in UNN.
“UNN also provides opportunities for professional and personal development through internal and external training, as way to upskill and upscale its employees while simultaneously improving the well-being of its employees,” emphasized by the Acting Head of Human Resources, Roslaini Othman. “It is part of UNN work culture to practice positive work environment by encouraging open communications between colleagues.” Roslaini Othman added.
The global pandemic hastened the implementation of a myriad of activities by the company’s Human Resources division under the UNN Mental Health Awareness Program. Under this program, speakers from the Health Promotion Centre (HPC) and professional practice Clarity Brunei were invited to talk about the importance of mental health, the types of mental health issues that are common in the workplace, and avenues to seek help and support to handle aggravators or stressors leading to poor mental health.
“The Mental Health Awareness Program is still ongoing within the company,” said UNN Head of Health, Safety & Environment, Mohamad Khairil Fadhillah Said. “Part of our ongoing plan is to elect some of our colleagues to become mental health champions where they will be trained on how to listen to the concerns raised by our staff and extend help or support to staff who are experiencing stress, anxiety, or depression to make them feel there is a safe place in UNN for them to convey whatever they are feeling. Sometimes, we just need somebody to listen.”
Image: UNN colleagues attending an online Mental Health Talk with Brunei Health Promotion Centre in January 2022.
UNN Healthy Lifestyle Programme (HLP) is introduced for UNN employees to be resilience on taking care of their mental health, engage in extracurricular activities, and foster collaborations across domains. HLP acts as a platform for employees from different teams and divisions to interact with one another, build familiarity, and foster better working relationship not just between colleagues but line managers too, which in turn help pave a smoother path for inter-departmental collaborations during work.
Outside work activities such as Paintball, Hiking, Defence Class, Brisk Walk, Yoga, Badminton, Board Games, Bowling, and Futsal are promoted across domain collaborations not only to foster healthy lifestyle, but also to promote teamwork as it is a part of UNN Core Value. The Human Resources domain conducted virtual run, in conjunction with World Health Day in April 2023, where employees who managed to reach the highest distance by walking which was tracked by an app, were rewarded.
Images from L-R: UNN colleagues participaing in badminton, hiking and yoga.
The long-term performance of a company is significantly influenced by the wellbeing of its employees. When employees are taken care of, their resilience will increase, leading to better engagement, reduced absenteeism, higher performance, and increased productivity – all leading to higher organisational success.back