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3 Ways to Empower Teams to Thrive by Improving Mental Fitness

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

By Linda Pourmassina, M.D.

Organizations have undergone—and continue to experience—massive shifts in every corner of their business. With layoffs, change fatigue, and general uncertainty, virtually every employee is impacted. Over-stressed and under-supported workers are struggling, oftentimes under the radar. Yet, there is no denying the significant impact of trends such as 'quiet quitting.'

According to Gallup consultant Heather Barrett, the term ‘quiet quitting’ has been defined as an approach to work where individuals meet the minimum requirements of their job, but nothing more—no discretionary effort, or no going above and beyond. Employees who are not engaged are individuals who put in time – but not energy or passion – at work, says Barret.

Why? It has to do with employees’ responses to feeling burnout at work, which causes them to reconsider their priorities and boundaries. This workplace mindset has gripped companies worldwide, leaving HR departments and C-suites desperate for solutions to combat a problem costing companies more than $30B each year.

“Our most recent data shows that half of U.S. employees are not engaged, and only 32% are engaged.”

Read on for three ways to help reduce attrition, combat quiet quitting, and counteract burnout:

1) Focus on Strengthening Mental Fitness

Nobody wants half their workforce to feel un-inspired, dis-engaged, and un-satisfied at work. While employers are frustrated with employee performance, poor engagement, and rising healthcare costs; employees are experiencing 'change fatigue' frustration with their managers and employers.

The term change fatigue describes a general sense of apathy or passive resignation towards organizational changes by individuals or teams and is said to arise when too much change takes place.

According to Harvard Business Review research, in response to change fatigue or change exhaustion, too often, organizations simply encourage their employees to be resilient, placing the burden of finding ways to feel better solely on individuals. “Leaders need to recognize that change exhaustion is not an individual issue, but a collective one that needs to be addressed at the team or organization level,” says Mollie West Duffy and Liz Fosslien of the Harvard Business Review.

Employers and employees want the same thing: to operate as their best selves on the job – productive, contributing, and successful. However, each of us is at a different level of emotional well-being.

To be our best selves, we must continuously work on and optimize our mental fitness. Just as physical fitness is maintaining a healthy body, mental fitness is nurturing a healthy MIND.

Mental fitness is about how capable a person is at using coping skills + practices to be flexible, manage adversity, and really THRIVE at work.

2) Help Employees Move from Struggling to Thriving

A key indicator of healthy mental fitness is emotional resilience, which is our ability to respond to and adapt to stressful or unexpected situations and crises. When our emotional resilience is strong, we're better able to handle stress, balance work with other obligations, actively contribute to healthy relationships, and seek help when it’s needed.

What would your team look like with BETTER mental fitness? How would they act differently? How do you imagine their improved behaviors would impact productivity, collaboration, and happiness levels?

Thriving workplaces have higher engagement and well-being for your employees and better business outcomes for organizations.

When collaboration is high and each team member taps into their own ability to be creative, resilient, and empathetic, work can feel a lot less like work. Thriving workplaces are possible by improving your employees’ well-being and mental fitness.

What does an average company’s well-being look like?

In the above graph, the top 40% of people who are thriving are shown to collaborate more easily, complete timely work, mentor others, and are eager to learn, compared to the 5% at the other end of the spectrum who may suffer on the job, miss work, deliver lower productivity, or add to a company’s healthcare costs.

In the ‘massive middle,’ a huge percentage of employees may be feeling stuck, thinking the grass is greener elsewhere, and/or assuming their employer doesn’t care about their well-being. Some of the symptoms of workers who qualify as languishing include feeling hopeless, irritable, numb, or bored on the job, pulling away from usual activities, not contributing to meetings, possibly eating more or less, sleeping poorly, and experiencing frequent headaches.

When we work with people who are thriving versus languishing, it’s easier to generate energy or excitement about a new idea. Communication and collaboration is improved. We become more engaged, more present, more focused, and in general more hopeful. Work can even become fun.

How do you shift a population from “languishing” to “thriving”?

Everyone deals with stress daily, but those ill-equipped to handle stress in healthy ways languish, while those who utilize mental fitness techniques can thrive. Equipping employees with tools and techniques to combat stress can help improve mental fitness and well-being in your organization.

“There is no doubt that uncertainty is anxiety-inducing,” say the authors of the Harvard Business Review article, Managers, What Are You Doing About Change Exhaustion? “The key is to not let employees struggle alone but to collectively acknowledge and address the challenges. With the right tools, you can help your team gain confidence in your ability to better handle whatever comes next—together.”

3) Implement a Breakthrough Mental Fitness Training Solution

One such tool has been designed by veteran game designers. Virtual Therapeutic’s collection of immersive mental fitness applications is known as Breakthrough.

As a complete mental fitness training solution for everyone in your organization from front-line workers to the C-suite, Breakthrough uses VR and proven therapeutic techniques to reduce attrition and combat quiet quitting in intuitive and fun ways that are proven to be much more effective than conventional solutions. Breakthrough is proven to keep users engaged longer and coming back for more.

Some EMPLOYEE benefits of implementing Breakthrough include:

  • Improved focus and memory

  • Better communication and conflict resolution

  • Enhanced self-awareness, patience/tolerance

  • Stronger relationships at work and in life

  • Improved positive thinking and confidence

  • Reduced anxiety and negative emotions

  • Becoming more present and productive

  • Increased imagination and creativity

  • Lower heart rate + resting blood pressure

  • Better sleep and reduced headaches

  • Improved ability to manage stress and anxiety

Some EMPLOYER benefits of implementing Breakthrough include:

  • Dramatic improvements in employee well-being:

  • 48% reduction in stress*

  • 34% reduction in depression scores*

  • 32% reduction in anxiety*

  • Employee satisfaction scores raised

“The two most common questions I get (from my team) about BreakthroughTM is whether they can have their families use it and whether they can keep it.” – Pilot Participant, Team Manager

We’d love to talk with you about adding our solution to your company’s HR benefits.

Contact us to learn how Breakthrough can quickly be implemented to increase resilience, reduce stress, improve performance, and create greater satisfaction at work for your team members.


*From a children’s hospital pilot program

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