Mental health disorders are real and can have devastating repercussions in the workplace, ranging from lost productivity, increased recruitment costs, heightened stress levels and diminished employee morale to lessened employee productivity overall. Mental illness issues have serious ramifications for businesses of all kinds – they have to be taken seriously to be avoided at any cost.
Employees are leading the charge to ensure organizations prioritize wellness in the workplace. Here are a few ideas to get you going:
1. Create a Stigma-Free Environment
When an employee approaches you for assistance, make them aware that your company provides a safe space for mental health. Review formal policies with an eye towards mental wellbeing such as flexible work arrangements or policies supporting leave. Furthermore, provide manager training programs designed to foster openness and acceptance of employee needs.
Stigma can have an adverse impact on employee mental health, discouraging them from seeking treatment or taking time off as necessary. Stigma ranges from casual jokes to discrimination against those living with a mental illness. Addressing stigma is essential in creating an atmosphere conducive to employee well-being at work; you can encourage peer support networks by providing opportunities for employees to connect. Furthermore, providing education on depression management techniques may also prove useful.
2. Encourage Employees to Talk About Their Issues
Depression and anxiety often develop subtly in employees, leading to stress at work and poor performance. If ignored, these issues could spiral out of control into full-scale mental health crises.
Managers and team leaders must keep an eye out for signs of depression and anxiety among their employees. If an employee suddenly appears sullen or confrontational, it might be worthwhile having an in-depth conversation about what may be going on in their life.
Buffer, a social media management company with mostly remote employees, promotes an environment of transparency by encouraging its workers to discuss all aspects of their lives – leaders should join this movement by being open about their experiences and acting as mental health champions for their teams.
3. Create an Environment That Promotes Calm
Stress and anxiety are normal parts of everyday life, yet they can become debilitating for employees. Businesses must create an environment which fosters calmness and wellbeing – this includes encouraging employees to decorate their workspaces with soothing colors and personal items from home; encouraging mindfulness practices like meditation; creating chill out spots within the office – in order to ensure employees can remain productive at work without feeling anxious or debilitated by stress and anxiety.
Companies should offer seminars and workshops devoted to stress management techniques, and provide managers with training on identifying signs of depression in their team members.
Employees want to feel that their company cares about them as individuals. Simply offering the latest apps or using vague terms like “well-being” and “mental health” won’t suffice; real changes must occur within the workplace culture for employees to experience real transformation; leaders should act as allies by sharing personal experiences of mental illness.
4. Provide Employee Assistance Programs
Employees suffering from mental health problems are at greater risk of leaving their employer, costing businesses in terms of lost productivity and higher insurance costs. Therefore, it’s vital that we encourage employees with such issues to seek help immediately – an employee assistance program is one way of providing this support.
An EAP (Employee Assistance Program) is a service that offers confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals and follow-up to employees experiencing both personal and work-related difficulties. Companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Cigna and social media management software maker Buffer have implemented EAPs.
BetterHelp provides an example of an online service which connects employees with professional therapists for anonymous and private support.
5. Offer Mental Health Days
One effective way of showing employees you care about their mental wellbeing is through offering mental health days. By having this policy in place, it can help avoid burnout while simultaneously maintaining healthy and motivated team members over the long term.
Mental Health Days provide employees the chance to leave work and engage in activities designed to foster relaxation and self-care, such as spending time with loved ones, exercising or practicing meditation, or simply napping. Employees also get a break from technology while enjoying some respite from work-related responsibilities – helping reduce presenteeism.
To take full advantage of this benefit, your company must clearly define its mental health day policy and train managers on recognizing when an employee requires time off work due to mental health reasons. Furthermore, additional resources should be offered such as employee assistance programs or stress management workshops for employees.