About one in five adults experience mental health issues every year. But only one in three people get the help and support they need. This hampers their professional lives, leading to a loss of productivity or missing out on work altogether.
Thus, as a business owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that your employees have the right mental health at the workplace. Focusing on employee mental health results in numerous tangible and intangible benefits. For example, the World Health Organization found that business owners can expect four dollars return for every dollar spent on mental health concerns regarding improved employee health and productivity.
If you are planning to focus on and support employees’ mental health, here are six ways to improve your employees’ mental well-being at the workplace.
Create an Assistance Program
Many organizations have an assistance program that helps support and improves employees’ workplace mental health. These assistance programs include teaching practices and techniques such as yoga, mindfulness, and Zen meditation courses online or on-site.
However, employees may be reluctant to take part in these programs due to the stigma attached to mental health issues. As a business owner, you can undertake the following steps to increase participation:
- Providing direct and quick access to mental health professionals.
- Offering these services to the employees’ family members as well.
- Gathering regular feedback and suggestions that can further help improve the employees’ mental health.
You can also collaborate with organizations dedicated to improving mental health and chose a mental health training program provided by them to improve your employees’ mental well-being.
Professionally, communication skills are highly valued in organization leaders. Employers need to constantly communicate with their employees to reduce the stigma associated with and encourage participation from employees. This can be done in various ways such as:
- Having periodic sessions about mental health.
- Providing anonymity to employees regarding their mental health issues.
- Offer workshops that can help employees learn more about mental health.
- Indirect communication in the form of emails and monthly newsletters to discuss various mental health-related topics.
- Arrange anonymous sessions with a medical professional regularly.
You can also carry out periodic surveys to gather employee feedback to improve communication between you and your employees.
Mental health issues can be faced by anyone, irrespective of their job position. Thus, as a leader, you need to make sure every employee has the highest levels of mental health. You need to include everyone in the employee assistance program. This also helps improve the employees’ trust and demonstrates that you genuinely care about your employees and prioritize their mental health.
Keep Track of Their Work Hours
One of the reasons for workplace stress and burnout is long working hours. And sadly, this has become a part of the modern work culture. Working for long hours without breaks and high responsibility can also lead to mental health issues like anxiety and depression.
Thus, you need to make sure that employees don’t work for extra hours than the stipulated time. Also, make sure that they take short breaks at regular intervals throughout the day. You can also juggle their work responsibilities if you feel that certain tasks add undue stress on an employee. Additionally, make sure that they aren’t burdened with professional commitments on their weekly holidays or sick and casual leaves.
Have Some Fun Activities
Most organizations hold a weekly activity, either on a Monday or Friday, to help lighten the workplace mood. It also helps employees forget about personal and professional worries and relax for a while. Also, such activities are good at team building, which can eventually lead to increased productivity at the workplace.
Thus, you should try to include such programs in your work schedule to reduce workplace stress among employees and improve their mental well-being.
Provide “Mental Health” Sick Leaves
Organizations usually allow sick leaves for employees when they are not physically well. However, the overall health of the person includes physical as well as mental health. Thus, employers should start including ‘low mental health’ as a reason for granting sick leaves to the employees.
Additionally, don’t ask for a doctor’s note when an employee asks for a sick leave citing mental health issues. Rather, be understanding and grant them leave without asking many questions.
Focusing on and caring for employees’ mental health is an important part of employee care. If you have employees with stress and mental health issues like anxiety and depression, it can negatively affect their work performance, productivity, and overall business growth.