For many people, work is a major part of our lives. It’s where we spend more than half of our time daily, where we earn our income, and also where we make connections. Having a satisfying job is good for your mental health and general wellbeing. Employee mental health & wellness has finally taken center stage within the modern workplace.
Indeed, with one in five people suffering from mental disorders in the US, numerous organizations have begun to re-evaluate their company cultures and therefore the way their corporate models impact the business operations as well as the employee mental health during COVID.
For months, mental health experts are warning us that a mental health pandemic will follow as an impact of COVID-19. According to the World Health Organization, psychological problems are our biggest challenge of the century with depression as the leading reason for disability and premature death.
Without healthy and productive employees, small-scale businesses and organizations with lesser resources can’t survive the ride out of COVID-19.
Importance of Mental Health in The Workplace
Nowadays, stress is overwhelmingly present in all our lives. Plenty of it can come from the workplace, but whether or not it does, it still affects your employees’ mental health & work performance. Research shows, 84% of direct effects on productivity loss and 93% of indirect influences are attributed to mental and physical health.
Mental wellbeing as a component of employee wellbeing takes into consideration stress, burnout, or the other feeling of unease in employees. Mental health benefits or an organizational culture in which mental health is openly discussed can equip your employees with means to take care of their psychological soundness. In turn, employees will take fewer sick days and overall perform better on the work.
In fact, According to the WHO, depression, and anxiety costs the worldwide economy approximately $1 trillion in lost productivity annually.
But beyond the monetary and economic implications caused by employee’s mental health problems, employers are now recognizing that it could be a determining factor for building good team dynamics and inspiring company cultures.
Key Signs That Your Employees Are Battling with Mental Health Issues
The risk factors differ in every workplace but commonly include individuals having an absence of autonomy in their role, poor job clarity, a lack of training/knowledge to try and do their role, or working in isolation.
The subsequent warning signs may indicate that your employees could also be scuffling with their mental health:
- Constant feelings of sadness or discouragement
- Sleeping an excessive amount or not the least bit
- Distant behaviour from work colleagues, friends, or family
- A constant downfall in work performance
- Increased consumption of alcohol, drugs, or medications
- Emotional outbursts
- The commencement or a rise within the intensity of work or family issues and/or
- The commencement or a rise within the severity of physical problems.
The mental health and wellness of employees should be a priority for any company. Especially during times like these, where we are facing several lifestyle changes and learning to adapt to working from home. For your employees to be happy and engaged within your company, you need to demonstrate how much they matter to you!
So, how to improve employee mental health & wellness within your company? Here’s how you’ll be able to get started!
How to Support Employee Mental Health & Wellness At Work?
How many of your employees are stressed out? How many are battling anxiety? Are any of them depressed? If yes, then it’s critical for you to create a work environment that is genuinely supportive of mental health.
Offer Flexible Work Options
Many workers struggle to balance their personal and professional lives, something which might have a major impact on their mental state and end up in higher stress levels and burnout rates. An absence of flexibility at work will be even more detrimental to the employee engagement and well-being.
Work flexibility can help resolve this issue and help companies in promoting employee wellbeing among their teams. So, by offering flexible schedules, remote work options, and half-days, you can let your team enjoy a little control over their schedules and manage their work responsibilities around other obligations.
Based on the FlexJobs’ 2019 Super Survey, remote work is considered to be the most desired work option among professionals. This could come as no real surprise, because the benefits of working from home are manifold, for workers and employers alike. Not only does this give a much better work-life balance, but it may cause a happier and more productive workforce, which may positively affect a company’s overall performance.
Introduce Mental Health Policies
One of the most effective ways to support employee’s mental health within the workplace is by incorporating it within your company policies. For starters, anti-discrimination policies are an efficient effort towards preventing discriminatory behaviour against employees and for addressing issues like bullying or harassment within the workplace.
Plus, it’ll allow you to form a very welcoming environment where everyone can feel safe. An excellent addition to your organizational leave policy would be the right to mental health days and stress leave.
As stress and anxiety are increasingly becoming a disconcerting workplace trend, this policy will make sure that workers have the right to require a day off without fearing for the repercussions it could have on their job.
Create A Support System
Having a network to reach out on can have a substantial impact on the mental wellness at workplace. Reckoning on your company size and resources, there are lots of programs and initiatives you may implement.
You could create buddy groups and mentorship programs which can place employees under the wings of people who can empathize and hear their concerns, be they work-related or not.
It’s important to make a network that’s fitting to your business which your employees will feel comfortable using, so a decent way to start is by evaluating their needs through their feedback and input.
Treat Your Team Fairly
Treating your team fairly as an employer implies that you understand that different members of your team can thrive under different conditions and circumstances. As an example, while some value more highly working alone in quiet spaces, others do their best work in loud and chatty offices.
It’s important to accommodate these different preferences to the best of your abilities and to permit your team to flourish in environments where they will do their best work. It is absolutely essential that you fairly treat your team.
Otherwise, you run the danger of marginalizing a number of your employees while leveraging others, which could do little for people’s mental states and overall morale.
Evaluate Your Company Culture
Company cultures can make or break employee engagement and wellbeing. Micromanagement, overworking and competition among staff can cause unwanted toxic work dynamics that may seriously affect your workforce. Research shows that a toxic work environment can be a major cause of depression and other health issues in employees.
Taking a better take a look at your company’s culture will help you re-evaluate and eliminate certain aspects, which can allow you to make a healthy work environment that prioritizes wellness. You can use employee engagement software, giving your employees autonomy to hold out their tasks without overwhelming supervision, trusting them with responsibilities, and offering them support when necessary, will do wonders for your team.
Plus, an organizational culture that encourages work-life balance and recognizes people’s efforts can have a big impact on the work dynamics and therefore the psychological state of your team.