When we speak of mental health in the workplace, we’re referring to the overall well-being of employees—not job performance, although the latter is often a reflection of the former. A number of aspects in one’s personal life can influence someone at work, but also the workplace itself. Stressful environments and pushy bosses putting too much pressure on employees, with little positive reinforcement, coupled with a highly competitive atmosphere, which, in moderation, could be healthy, if devoid of an overall sense of teamwork and collaboration, becomes destructive.
Why Companies Should Address Mental Health In the Workplace
Figuring out how to promote and support good mental health is a hot topic among employers and companies, who recognize that it’s important for their workers to feel emotionally healthy in order to create a stronger sense of teamwork and be productive on the job. Many companies are concerned with the health factor of their employees, especially in these days where many people suffer from stress and depression due to work. Addressing the mental health of the entire staff benefits not only the employees and the managers, but the entire company itself, whose health and success should not come at the cost of its workforce, but a reflection of it.
Current trends in workplace mental health need to focus on:
- Listening to employees, identifying their needs and offering assistance
- Providing attractive benefits to help them manage stress levels, both on and off the job (examples could be health insurance, gym membership, and time off)
- Encouraging an open dialogue between management and staff to create a workplace environment that’s more relaxed
Advantages of Employees Having Good Mental Health At The Workplace
When employees have good mental health at the workplace,they exhibit a number of positive qualities in their day-to-day actions and interactions, including:
- Being a productive member of the workforce
- Bringing up new ideas to improve products/services for customers
- Taking responsibility for their performance—they care about the work that they do and want to ensure that it’s at its best potential
- Reduced stress levels for managers and other employees
- A commitment to creating a healthier work environment
- Decreased absence rates
- Decreased turnover rate
By providing a supportive workplace that encourages good mental health, employers are opening the door to an entirely new level of employee engagement, setting all members of the workforce up for long-term success.
5 Ways Companies Can Address and Boost Mental Health
Now let’s look at mental health in the workplace tips. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has designated October as National Mental Health Month, and there are a number of ways companies can help their employees stay mentally healthy:
1. Implement an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
An EAP is a professional assessment service provided to employees to put them in contact with professionals who can help with issues pertaining to personal, mental and emotional wellness. It’s a great way for employees to be able to seek help without having anyone at work know that they are doing so, thus creating a better sense of confidentiality, which is crucial in times of distress or ill health. Many companies provide their employees with an EAP as part of their benefits package.
2. Implement Employee Support Programs (ESPs)
These types of programs encourage and promote wellness at work by providing employees with information and education to help them achieve a healthier state of mind, as well as assistance in the form of counseling and coaching services.
3. Stress Management Techniques Training for Employees
Since stress can manifest itself in a number of ways, everyone has different triggers and coping mechanisms. While one person might find that the occasional yoga session or meditation class helps them to relax, other people prefer a more active outlet such as running or biking, which is why it’s important for companies to provide their employees with resources and information to help them learn how to manage stress in a healthy way.
4. Scheduling Policies That Help With Work-Life Balance
Organizations should look at how they can help their employees improve work-life balance, allowing them to better manage family time and other personal responsibilities that may affect their day to day happiness, as well as overall health. This could include anything from allowing an employee to be able to work from home one or two days a week, flexible hours, time off for family emergencies, paid sick leave and so on.
5. Encouraging Leadership That Promotes Workplace Mental Health
Ideally, good mental health in the workplace starts with leadership that models positive behavior toward employees by being approachable and supportive. Leaders need to be able to enforce good work ethics and maintain a strong sense of confidence and self-esteem among staff, which will allow them to feel that they can approach their managers with any problems or concerns.
Organizational change is difficult, particularly when it comes to implementing new policies and procedures that require employees to adapt. It takes time for people to adjust and fully embrace change. But with strong leadership and a commitment to workplace mental health, it can be done.
All organizations have a moral and legal obligation to ensure that their workplaces are safe, healthy environments for employees. By implementing programs that promote wellness at work, companies not only set the tone for good mental health in the workplace but they also provide their employees with important skills they can use throughout their lives. Whether someone is managing stress or attempting to cope with a mental illness, developing strong self-awareness and self-management skills will allow for better personal growth and development. With the right tools and resources, organizations can create a culture of good mental health in which everyone benefits.
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