Businesses around the globe are finally starting to value the mental health and well-being of their employees. Initiatives like Mental Health Awareness week and increased spending on wellness campaigns have helped many employees make a positive change in their lives.
However, some companies are still a little behind the times. This is an issue for employees and employers, as failing to provide mental health benefits and accommodations will result in high turnover and poor employee performance.
It’s not too late to make a change. There are plenty of positive mental health strategies that companies can utilize to make the workplace a more supportive environment.
Policies for Mental Health
Most employers want their employees to be happy and satisfied at work. However, few businesses have a policy in place to promote well-being in the workplace. Failing to create a mental health policy will make improving the mental well-being of employees impossible. Without a clear statement and guidelines, managers and leaders will quickly forget about the importance of promoting mental health at work.
Businesses can take a unified approach to improve mental health in the workplace by creating a mental health policy. This policy should include the basics like:
- Anti-discrimination guidelines;
- Access to physical recreation at work;
- Access to therapy and other mental health services;
- Regular surveys to assess employee mental health;
- Commitments to low-stress conflict management strategies.
These guidelines cover the basics of employee mental health. However, every business has its own distinct challenges. A good mental health policy should account for these unique stressors to ensure that employees feel supported at work.
A robust mental health policy ensures that employee wellness is a priority. However, writing the policy will take time and effort. In the meantime, leaders can help employees feel valued and cared for by investing in small changes to the office environment.
Creating a space that supports mental well-being is particularly important if employees still work in a physical location, like an office or coworking space. This physical environment plays a huge role in mental well-being, as health issues are typically exacerbated in cluttered spaces with low levels of natural light.
Leadership can promote mental health in the workplace by utilizing office wellness hacks. Managers should try to create better airflow throughout the space and use plants to promote relaxation and boost productivity. During the warmer months, employers can encourage staff to take their work outside from time to time and accept that any short-term dips in productivity will result in long-term gains in wellness and efficiency.
You may even look into flexibility and hybrid work schedules. If you prefer to keep an office as at least an option, standing desks can be a great addition for employee health. Even if most employees still elect to stay seated, an investment in adjustable desks shows that a business’s commitment to well-being is holistic and sincere.
Most people’s day-to-day work is inherently stressful. Crunching data, stacking shelves, and commuting to and from work take a toll on everyone’s mental health and cause a rise in stress levels.
Sometimes, a rise in stress can be a good thing. Short-term, acute stress promotes focus and improves productivity. However, long-term, chronic stress can have dire consequences for employees who may become frazzled and fall ill more easily.
Companies can help employees manage chronic stress by promoting honest, open dialogue without the fear of stigmatization or negative consequences. This is particularly important today, as many employees took on extra responsibilities during the pandemic and are now struggling to keep up with a burdensome workload.
Employers can start to assess stress at work by asking simple questions like:
- Do you feel like you are in control of your work day?
- How often do events or meetings get in the way of your work?
- What part of the day do you enjoy/not enjoy the most?
- Do your current tasks feel achievable?
Ideally, these questions can be asked anonymously at first. This will let employees be honest about their happiness at work and give management a good indication of whether or not a stress-intervention strategy is needed.
Therapy has changed a lot in the past few years. Before the pandemic, 64% of practitioners had never treated patients via telehealth. Today, almost all therapists can work virtually to meet with busy employees who need help. The virtual therapy revolution has made it easier for employees to get the help they need when they need it.
Companies can help employees get in touch with the right therapist by funding their search and treatment. This is easier today than ever before, as services like BetterHelp and Talkspace host thousands of fully qualified therapists who can meet employees’ specific needs.
When promoting virtual therapy at work, companies must be both clear and confidential. Employees need to know exactly how the process will work and should feel assured that their privacy is respected. This will help promote uptake and ensure that all employees feel safe and secure.
Companies can foster better mental health in the workplace by drawing up a clear well-being policy. This policy should reduce workplace stress and provide all employees with the opportunity to better their mental health. Key points should include access to therapy, opportunities for recreation, and routine assessments of employee well-being.
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