One of the elements that employers have to be empathetic towards in 2023 is mental health, and the harsh truth is that many people struggle with it at work. According to MentalHealth, 1 in 7 people experience general mental health problems. This is understandable when work is a third of our lives, and poor mental health generally affects the human condition.
Naturally, low moods and other conditions such as high anxiety, depression, and many others will affect morale and productivity. Therefore, it's our duty as employers to address it in a healthy way. The question is how. As employers, there are many steps we can take to create a culture of trust and understanding, as well as support our employees when they need it most.
Like with any subject that is difficult, how to talk about mental health at work begins with a culture that is open and understanding. You can regularly share your mental health resources in company-wide emails or other messaging platforms staff meetings.
Providing regular one-on-one meetings with your employees as a check-in measure is also a good idea and further connects you with your staff. If you want to go the whole hog, implement mental health training for all employees. That way, everybody understands the importance of addressing it in the workplace and how to manage it, which should make it easier to discuss.
One resource that many modern companies open for their employees is a counselling service. You might be able to get the service implemented at a discounted rate or, if you’re really lucky, for free. You can also call in insurance coverage for employees seeking mental health assistance. This way, you can ensure that your group benefits program covers mental health services sufficiently.
Providing the means for your staff to get the help they need when their mental health is affecting work performance shows that you care for your staff’s well-being, which is good for morale.
How to improve mental health in the workplace can boil down to offering some more autonomy to your employees. People have different preferences nowadays; some find comfort in working in a remote or hybrid capacity, while others are better benefited by in-person office life.
Find a way to make it clear that your company is open to these different preferences. Then it’s a simple case of ironing out the practicalities, such as providing hybrid employees with laptops or granting them remote access to your company database. There may be security issues to address too, but that’s for another time.
Giving your employees autonomy makes work a more freeing experience. This improves mental health by showing them that they have options. If they feel backed into a corridor, as their employer you are showing them the doors.
Encourage employees to step away from the desk periodically throughout the day. Whether this is ensuring that they take their deserved lunch break, or that it's okay and a good idea to take a walk, it’s a kind move and a practical one. Encouraging well-being is an irreplaceable quality that will benefit you and your staff.
If your staff has accrued time off, make sure that they are banking it. Often, we are taken away by the rush of work and forget about our cumulative vacation days. A simple reminder goes a long way. It shows the employees that you remember their needs and gives them that gentle push to take time to re-energize.
Finally, take a look at your employees’ schedules, lives, and the practicalities they face every day and consider if there are any ways that you can lift a burden from their shoulders. One suggestion is to provide recurring lunches at work that allows employees to order in with little hassle and with respect to their personal tastes.
This removes one chore from their day but also adds extra excitement about what’s going to be for lunch. Sometimes, the little things go a long way. Plus, with programs like Ritual for Companies, employees can order food together from hundreds of local restaurants, encouraging a more social atmosphere in the office. .
Mental health is a real, important topic that can be worsened by a stressful work environment. But do your bit as an employer to alleviate stresses where you can and address their issues in an understanding and compassionate manner, and you’re doing the best you can.