The consequences of the worldwide pandemic left a decline in mental health among many workers. Along with handling personal problems, worry, stress, and burnout in the workplace are common factors. According to research, one in five US individuals suffers from a mental disorder, yet fewer than half receive treatment.
Mental Health in the Workplace Summit also stated that mental health issues are the leading cause of absenteeism than any other injury or illness.
6 Strategies To Support Your Employees’ Mental Health
These statistics prove that organizations must create a positive work environment that acknowledges their employees’ mental health. While many employers are now incorporating mental health benefits into their organization, making it a must rather than a perk, some are still navigating this concept. But with the right approach, understanding what you can do to deliver programs for your employees can be easy. Here are six strategies for HR to support employees’ mental health.
Create a Healthy Workplace Culture
A positive and healthy workplace culture contributes significantly to your employees’ mental wellness. There are still a lot of stigmas involving mental health that many employees fear speaking up about what they’re going through. That’s why leaders need to create and maintain a support structure that will make their employees feel safe and that they belong to the organization personally and professionally.
You can start by providing resources to encourage your employees to discuss mental health openly. For example, counseling reimbursement benefits, creating social groups that regularly meet so they can build bonds with teams, or a portal where employees can easily reach out to HR if they need help. It could also be as simple as paid time off to see a counselor or permission to go for walks to unplug for a moment. This way, you’re not only promoting to end of the stigma concerning mental health, but you’re also helping your employees to be easily engaged and productive in their roles.
Offer a Flexible Scheduling
One of the common reasons for employees’ mental exhaustion and burnout is the lack of work-life balance. Allowing for flexibility can help reduce stress and boost productivity and job satisfaction. Workplace flexibility can take the form of extended breaks, available paid time off (PTO) policies, flexible start and finish dates, or the ability for employees to telecommute a few days each week.
Additionally, managers should urge their staff to take vacation days as it may reduce the possibility of staff burnout. A company may establish a workplace where people
are motivated to bring their best selves to work if it is open to developing relationships with them.
Listen to Your Employees
Being a good listener shows your staff that you value them, care about their needs, and have their best interests in mind. Good listeners are attentive and involved. They speak positively, use culturally acceptable body language, and keep their electronics out of sight. Additionally, good listeners ask brief yet pertinent clarifying questions. And when someone summons the bravery to approach you with a problem, they swear never to reveal the private information of others unless someone is in danger.
You won’t have all the answers, and that’s okay. Good listeners must be at ease at taking accountability for the things they don’t know. Your presence and focus are enough to make your employees feel valued.
Provide Mental Health Services
A company’s resource allocation and investment practices reveal its goals. Because they do not perceive a return on investment, many businesses are reluctant to engage in mental health services; yet, the quality of their employees’ work suffers due to their personal and occupational issues. More importantly, a company’s failure to address the subject of mental illness fosters a climate of mistrust and dread in the workplace.
Think about providing free access to onsite mental health counselors, entertaining team-building exercises, interactive webinars, discounts on massages, and even free video conversations with mental health specialists or therapists. In return, your organization will see tangible results, such as a decrease in absenteeism and an increase in productivity. It may also help attract quality candidates and create a healthy and trusting company culture.
Raise Awareness Among Leaders
HR should prioritize educating executives on the significance of workplace mental health. After all, the more informed they are, the better it will be for the workers and the company. Leaders establish the standard for what should be acceptable and what shouldn’t be. Hence, it is essential to activate them to avoid the possibility of increasing turnover.
Provide mental health training so leaders can recognize signs of mental illness, excessive stress, bullying, and fatigue in the workplace. Additionally, they must know different ways to communicate with employees concerning their mental health. Keep in mind that if leaders do not foster a friendly workplace atmosphere, people will be afraid to open up.
Model Healthy Behaviors
It is not enough that you support mental health. It would be best if you also modelled healthy behaviors so that your team members may feel it is okay to prioritize self-care and set boundaries. Use your paid time off for vacation, keep your camera off during meetings, or not respond to work-related calls and texts after your shift. This way, you are showing your employees that putting their mental health first is essential, and taking a rest once in a while is encouraged.
Whether they arise at work or elsewhere, mental health problems are unavoidable. However, if HR leaders lead with kindness, empathy, and openness, you will not only improve your workers’ disposition but also have a long-lasting good effect on your business.
Remember that it’s okay to go through difficult times, and talking about your anxieties and worries is also acceptable and encouraged. With these tips, we hope you can create a workplace culture that accepts and supports mental health issues.