It is no secret that good employee mental health is absolutely essential to the wellbeing of any business. It is reported that addressing mental health issues in the workplace can increase productivity by around 12%. Therefore keeping an eye on the wellbeing of staff is one of the most important aspects of being an effective and compassionate employer.
If you are proactive about creating an inclusive and open workplace environment, you will reap the benefits of greater productivity and greater employee wellness. This can lead to a slew of other benefits including greater employee loyalty and better employee retention. Below is a list of the ways that employers can create an environment in which mental health is supported and mental health issues are addressed.
It is not enough for an employer to extol the benefits of good mental health. They must also practice what they preach. It is vital for employers to effectively manage their own mental health, and openly discuss the ways that they are doing so.
This will not only result in greater and more effective leadership, but will also foster an honest, open, and empathetic office which is better for mental health. An environment in which employees will feel comfortable about sharing their own mental health strategies and struggles. An employer should talk about the ways in which they are managing their mental health. They might mention that they have booked a therapy appointment, or discuss their own strategies for good mental health management.
All companies should invest the time to create a clear and comprehensive wellbeing policy that addresses physical and mental health. This policy should lay out the ways in which the company actively, and consistently, works to foster an environment of employee wellness.
However, it is not enough just to build an effective statement. The behavior and actions of senior employees and staff should consistently reflect the ideals set out in the policy. Steps should be taken to ensure that this wellbeing policy is being consistently read and reviewed by staff at all levels.
The wellbeing policy should also clearly lay out the available resources and support that the company offers staff in terms of mental health management. Creating a clear and actionable policy will help foster a safe and secure environment for the discussion and prevention of mental health issues.
When mental health issues do arise at the workplace, it is important for employers to be able to offer support in the form of adjusted working conditions for those affected with mental health conditions. Every individual affected by mental health issues is different. Therefore employers must incorporate and develop mental health policies that are flexible enough to cater to the needs of specific individuals.
Adjustments at work can come in many different forms. These can include mentorship, a reduction or adjustment in hours, or an adjustment in duties so that the employee is under less pressure at work. Understanding the issue, whether it is a home or family issue, whether they need financial assistance or medical help. It is not fair to say that a one-size-fits-all employee benefit scheme will be good for staff, but understanding their individual needs is key.
By staying flexible and open to workplace adjustments, a company will foster an inclusive and supportive environment. An environment in which each employee feels like their mental health needs can align with the overall goal and needs of the company itself.
It is easy for an employer to ask their staff “how are you?”, receive “ok” as an answer, and leave it at that. This almost daily interaction may seem to be sufficient in terms of checking in with staff. However, it is important for employers to go beyond simple pleasantries and regularly check-in with their employees as regards their mental and physical health.
It is important for employers to go further than that. Ask specific questions about the wellbeing of each employee, particularly employees that seem to be struggling with mental health. Not only ask, but really listen to the needs and potential issues that an employee may have. One should try to create a compassionate and honest workplace environment, it may also lead to potential mental health issues being headed off before they can develop into something more serious.