For most of us, our jobs play a significant part in our lives. We spend a significant amount of our lifetime at work, along with worrying and thinking about our careers. Often, work takes a huge toll on employees, resulting in work-related stress, anxiety, and depression. Some of their adverse effects include poor productivity, increased staff turnover, high rates of absenteeism and illness, and negative performance.
Employers have a legal responsibility to maintain a healthy and safe workplace. In fact, mental health issues in the workplace worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Employees have been affected in various ways, from adjusting to the new normal, losing a loved one, to adopting the remote work setup. As a result, workers now face challenges in managing their mental well-being and the need for support.
To lessen the impacts of poor mental health at work, employers are putting a renewed focus on managing employees’ mental health. Some companies are responding to this situation by offering training courses for health coach professionals. Their role is to educate people about nutrition and health and use it as a thriving health coaching business. In turn, an employee can become an active promoter of life-changing health practices in the workplace.
To better support employees’ mental health, this article will discuss ways of minimizing the impact of mental health issues and techniques in protecting workplace mental health. Take note of the following key points to create a healthy work culture.
Educate the team
Promoting a supportive workplace culture starts with the employer. Start by pledging your commitment by forming the foundation of a safe work environment, where employees feel their employer understands what they’re going through. Do this by hosting a company-wide meeting to discuss how the pandemic has affected their mental health. Educate the employees about improving self-care, avoiding burnout, and reducing workplace stress.
Take this opportunity by offering mental health resources. Utilize technology by signing up for industry-recognized mental health support or hiring a health professional, such as counselors and mental health advocates. These people have the authority to discuss these topics and address mental health-related concerns. Their role is to highlight health practices to ensure good mental health and identify symptoms that require professional help. By the end of the program, employees will feel more empowered to act on their struggles and improve their mental health.
Committing to addressing mental health issues will improve trust and encourage respect from employees. It takes a huge effort for employers to speak openly about mental health. If done well, this will break the stigma in the workplace that mental health issues are taboo.
Conduct check-in meetings
Doing regular employee check-ins makes a huge difference in employee morale. It is important to note that mental wellness quickly changes; that’s why it is necessary to host check-ins during meetings. Instead of asking about their work progress, ask employees how they are holding up. After the check-in, employers should schedule a one-on-one meeting to discuss follow-up questions and allow employees to speak up about their feelings or ongoing struggles.
For employees with diagnosed conditions, establish a risk assessment system to identify potential stressors and current emotional state. This will help determine possible healthy habits they can adopt when work gets tough. Adopting a traffic light system is also a helpful tool for staying aware of employees’ mental health and providing immediate actions if needed. Your goal is to never let their emotions reach the “red zone”, where they suffer from severe symptoms with a low capacity for action.
Promote self-care practices
In most cases, employees are often hesitant to speak about their struggles or take long breaks at work. A great alternative is to lead by example by promoting the benefits of self-care so employees can take a step back and evaluate their mental health.
Preventative health involves giving our body and mind a well-deserved break now and then. Encouraging employees to take days off for their mental health will prevent serious issues in the long run. You can also offer mental wellness days as a paid day off or schedule breaks to allow employees to reset mentally. Another way is to include mental health resources in their benefit plans to consult counselors, apply for meditation programs, and seek stress management services and other employee assistance programs.
Following the techniques above will help you and your employees establish reasonable adjustments in these times of global crisis. The key is for companies to create comprehensive well-being programs that equip employees with the right tools to manage their anxiety and stress levels. This will provide long-term returns by fully ingraining these programs in the work culture, where the health and well-being of employees are a top priority.