The Importance of Employee Mental Health

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While mental health support was a nice-to-have in the workplace a few years ago, today it has become a necessity. More and more people are cracking under the pressures of everyday life, demanding jobs, and changing workplaces. That’s why absenteeism from work has increased lowering productivity and reducing economic gains in general.

Companies that underestimate the importance of the full mental potential of their employees will miss out on plenty of business opportunities in the future. If you’re a leader interested in increasing awareness of mental health in the workplace, you’ve come to the right place. Continue reading to learn why employee mental health is important and how to offer adequate support.

Employee Assistance Program

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a type of program designed to help and support employees struggling with mental health issues in the workplace. Personal or professional challenges employees face prevent them from leading a normal life and performing well at work. The EAPs helps employees to resolve problems such as traumatic events, disorders, relationship, marriage or parenting challenges, etc. Generally, the program covers a set of counseling sessions with therapists and psychologists. As a manager, it’s one of your main responsibilities to improve the program, so it provides enough services to meet employee needs. You can consult employees to make the improvements worthwhile. By supporting them, you’ll also improve productivity and reduce absenteeism.

Clear Mental Health Policies

Employee Mental Health quote 1 - Forward Steps Blog 1500pxWhether we like it or not, mental health is still taboo in most parts of the world. The industries and workplaces aren’t any different. If you’re trying to implement mental health procedures and cultivate a supportive culture, let your staff know it. Don’t just send a memo informing them of the policies. Show them through activities and benefits how the organization prioritizes their mental health. For example, health care plans should cover mental health care too. Then, organize activities for employees to maintain their mental health and prevent developing severe disorders. For instance, offer them fitness or gym memberships, language learning courses, spa or wellness retreats to relax after stressful workdays in the office. In the end, make sure employees are aware of all mental health policies you’re carrying out. This way, they can take advantage of them when necessary.

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Comprehensive Corporate Culture

The best way to invest in the mental well-being of your employees is by reshaping the corporate culture. It should break down the barriers and remove the social stigma attached to mental health. Build a culture in which employees won’t feel ashamed for experiencing mental or emotional problems caused by stress or anxiety. This means the culture should encourage transparency and honesty. When employees notice a colleague hasn’t been acting like themselves recently, they should show compassion. The same goes for the management. Try reaching out to those who need help in any way. Some of them would feel better if they relieve the burden through conversation.Employee Mental Health quote 2 - Forward Steps Blog 1500px

Technology and Tools

Remote teams are particularly challenging when it comes to mental health well-being. You can’t tell whether someone’s just having a bad day or they’re going through a rough patch. You can use platforms or tools to check in on your team and make sure they’re doing well. Also, you should distribute tools, so they can assess their mental health state. The tools consist of questionnaires and checklists for them to fill in. They don’t give the diagnoses but serve as a wake-up call for employees to take better care of themselves. Find out more here on how to provide mental health assessment tools to your employees.

Burnout Prevention

We’ve all heard the saying — it’s better to be safe than sorry. When it comes to burnout, it’s true. It’s always better to prevent it than to deal with its consequences. If an employee has been under a lot of stress for quite some time, they’re more likely to experience severe physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. Being overwhelmed with different emotions makes them incapable of not only doing their work but also participating in everyday activities. Don’t let it get this far and mitigate the risk of exposing employees to high amounts of stress. Provide conditions for healthy work and life balance thus leveraging the hybrid workplace model. Also, control the schedules and workloads and encourage employees to participate in EAPs for precaution.

In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way. -Tina Fey Click To Tweet

Management Training

It’s easier to notice if an employee is facing some problems when you’re running an in-house team than a remote one. Since more and more employers are adopting a hybrid workplace model, it’s necessary to train the management. The training doesn’t only refer to raising awareness of mental health but also recognizing the signs and symptoms early on. Managers like yourself should be able to attend webinars and seminars to learn skills essential for supporting employees with mental health disorders and well-being in general. The focus should be on different approaches to employees and their problems because no two illnesses or disorders require the same treatment.Employee Mental Health quote 3 - Forward Steps Blog 1500px

Employee Perks

Employers should always look after their staff as they’re the backbone of every organization. One way to do so is by offering employee perks. For example, provide them with free healthy snacks and varied nutritious meals. Also, they should always have plenty of different beverages at their disposal. This way, they won’t have to worry about whether or not they’ll eat a wholesome meal or junk food. Then, create relaxation corners for employees to unwind during their shift. They can sit and meditate, or take part in group activities such as table football, darts, or board games. As a result, they’ll get back to work fully rested and ready to get into the deep focus again.

Telling me there is no problem won’t solve the problem. This is not how miracles are born. This is not how sickness works. -Emm Roy Click To Tweet

Summary

Today, companies without a comprehensive Employee Assistance Program in place are facing severe economic and financial losses. That’s because employees with poor mental health aren’t physically or emotionally capable of handling their workloads or communicating with their coworkers. Destigmatizing mental health in the workplace is the first step toward adopting best practices. This way your staff, and the organization can build resilience and thrive together.

Contributed by guest author

Employee Mental Health - Forward Steps Blog - Jess Cooper profile imageJess Cooper is a part-time journalist and blogger based in Sydney, Australia working closely with (ad) Blink.

She is an energetic, creative, and highly motivated person with plenty of interests. The most prominent areas of interest include business, communication and marketing.


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The Importance of Employee Mental Health