As a company, what can you do to address and support mental health among your employees? Here are 5 basic steps to get you started on fostering a healthier workplace.
Fact: Mental health can have a serious impact on a business. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports depression causes an estimated 200 million lost workdays each year at the cost of up to $44 billion to employers in lost productivity.
Information from different countries around the world also indicate the importance of paying attention to mental health problems among employees. In the Netherlands, around 58% of the work-related disabilities are related to mental health, while in the UK, it is estimated that around 30–40% of the sickness absence is due to some form of mental illness.
Although mental health is often not discussed at the workplace, studies show that employees want their companies to champion mental health and well-being. A survey by Peldon Rose showed that 72% of employees want employers to advocate for better mental health and well-being amongst the workers.
The development and implementation of a workplace mental health policy and program has been found to benefit the health of employees and increase the productivity of the company as a whole. Employers get 4 times return on better health and productivity for every USD 1 invested into mental health.
If you’re thinking of ways to incorporate mental health support at work, here are some basic steps available to you.
1. Promote Work-Life Balance
Sit down with your employees and set shared expectations and boundaries together, be it personal or professional. Encourage them to develop a rich and full life outside of work, and ensure that they set aside time to do things that they enjoy. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance helps reduce stress and prevent employee burnout in the workplace.
2. Increase Mental Health Awareness
Provide ongoing educational employee wellness programs to help raise awareness and normalise proactive engagement with one’s mental wellbeing. Organise a week or a month in the company dedicated to discussions on mental health.
Provide training to managers to teach them about empathetic leadership and equip them with strategies to support their team members’ mental wellness. There is no one-size-fit-all solution when it comes to employee well-being as there is a difference in the way that people act, think and feel. Managers need to understand this and be able to adapt to their team’s situation.
3. Set Aside Time to Spend Together
No, working together doesn’t count. Allocate time to rest and relax together as a team or organisation. Doing this can help rejuvenate the team and increase productivity. It also helps create a positive environment for everyone to bond and engage with one another.
4. Encourage Open Conversations
Create a safe environment for people to talk about their mental health challenges. This helps increase trust within the team and remove the stigma associated with mental health. Always try to be as transparent as possible and be empathetic towards other people’s challenges by practicing active listening instead of brushing those challenges aside.
5. Provide Mental Health Resources
Ensure that employees have easy access to professional and confidential mental health support when needed. Even though mental health may be normalised in your workplace, it’s common for some people to still feel uncomfortable opening up about their challenges. Reassure your employees that their privacy is of top priority by ensuring confidentiality and anonymity in the mental health resources provided.
Read other Workplace Well-being Related Resources:
- How Do We Cultivate And Promote Mindfulness At Work?
- Four Ways To Strengthen Mental Fitness for Workplace Productivity
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