Mental Health, Humor + The Workplace: Finding A Balance

May is Mental Health Awareness Month so we’re exploring mental health in the workplace and the effect of humor.

The line between personal and professional, as it separates work and life, wasn’t always so blurred.  Before the internet and social media, coworkers often didn’t have any insight into your personal life. Minus what you chose to share. Jobs were largely 9 to 5, and when you went home, you signed off.

Now, you’re always in touch; and even further, you’re searchable (those college Facebook posts still live somewhere, you know). As such, the line was already starting to blur pre-pandemic – after-work drinks turned into Instagram follows, direct messages and meme-sharing.

Then, the pandemic happened. Without your direct consent, nearly every coworker got a sneak peek into your homes, your families and sometimes, your struggles. On Teams calls, we’d hear children arguing in the background, dogs barking at passersby. We dealt with personal internet outages, sickness in the family and overarching mental health/wellness struggles as a result of the pandemic’s looming threat and suffocating circumstances.

Many corporations, while struggling from a financial perspective, realized that employees still on the balance sheet were struggling as well. Many were left wondering how they could acknowledge and address it in a humble and empathetic way, while still encouraging quality work, all from afar.

“It’s entirely natural for organizations to feel unsure of where to begin while also recognizing the opportunity to step up during times like Mental Health Awareness Month,” says Jordan Axani, President of Shift Collab, a leader in therapy and mental health education. “However, just like any business challenge or client project, implementing a mental health plan requires a multifaceted approach that balances the company’s values, policies and actions. The employers that are the best at promoting mental health do just that.”

From adding mental health days to PTO policies, and opening up “office hours” to discuss workload and COVID-19 management, and other unique benefit additions – oftentimes the basis for a good work/life balance complete with happy, motivated employees comes down to one thing: culture. And that culture needs to be open, honest and built on a foundation of levity (naturally, mixed with grit and all other required qualities for a business to function, and function well).

Peppercomm lives and breathes that levity and has even composed an offering around it.

In partnership with clinical psychologist Silja Litvin and professional comedian and leadership speaker David Horning, we have developed an exclusive training program customized to help transform company culture, organization and improve productivity, drive sales and strengthen resilience among teams.

The program starts with a clinical assessment that pinpoints the unique challenges facing an organization. We then employ an evidence-based approach to creating a safe space for employees to break down barriers and develop the necessary skills to succeed in a joyful manner that engages stakeholders and drives real outcomes.

This not only has the ability to affect employee’s day-to-day attitudes, but also their productivity, commitment and loyalty to their employer. It’s a win/win and one that’s truly needed in corporate settings, particularly at this point in time.