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Many individuals face mental health challenges that end up impacting their work. Many companies, however, do not recognize the mental health issues employees go through, and employees end up suffering. Due to this, many people either take days off from work or work inefficiently. Not only does this cause employees to struggle, but the business also becomes worse off. Just like businesses support their workers during physical illness, they should also do the same for mental illnesses. Many times, mental health problems do not get recognition. Many people are also hesitant in talking about their struggles since they feel ashamed or worry that no one will support them. Nowadays, companies should understand these challenges and take a stand to counter them. They should not let their employees suffer and try to help them in various ways. Below, we will discuss five ways companies can support mental health at work.
1. Understand Mental Health Challenges Workers Face
The first thing companies should start with is understanding what mental health challenges their workers face. The managers and leaders should take training sessions to see the signs of emotional distress in their employees and learn ways to tackle them. They should be supportive in their ways instead of criticizing every move employees make. Many people lack such knowledge of understanding human behavior. They can understand their employees’ mental health issues by taking applied psychology programs online to hone their skills. If employees have colleagues or seniors who understand their feelings, it will surely make an impact on improving their well-being. Another way to create awareness is by making mental health training compulsory for the entire staff, which can help them become more mindful of mental well-being.
2. Create a Safe Space for your Employees
It is essential to make your workers feel safe in their work environment. Employees should not feel scared to talk about their mental health issues. They should feel like it is a safe space to talk about such problems. Managers and other company leaders should set a tone and ensure their workers take an interest in protecting everyone’s mental health. They can also offer assistance to those suffering instead of penalizing or ridiculing them. To create a safe environment, companies should also promote gender equality and diversity amongst their employees.
They can promote, encourage, and reward their employees based on their work and not on favoritism. It will help boost employee motivation and result in better performance too. If the environment is toxic, employees will suffer from poor mental health and physical health issues. They may sleep less, which would cause a risk of obesity or cardiovascular disease, or any other significant problems.
3. Create Employee Assistance Programs
Employee assistance programs are employee benefit programs that help workers with work-related and personal problems. These problems can negatively affect their job performance and mental well-being. These programs can be excessively beneficial in supporting employees’ mental and emotional health at the workplace. They can considerably increase productivity, encourage a positive work environment, and help businesses save money. Many people may be hesitant to use these programs due to embarrassment or lack of awareness. However, they should be aware of the facilities being offered to them free of cost. Companies can create awareness by texting employees, posting notices, and sending out monthly newsletters. Moreover, companies should also offer health insurance for mental health issues, as they do with physical health problems. Employees should use these benefits before a crisis occurs and seek them for prevention rather than cure.
4. Encourage a Work-life Balance
To ensure employees focus on their mental health, companies need to promote the importance of protecting mental health. They should educate employees about work-life balance. Companies should stress the importance of having a balanced life so that workers do not experience burnout and can live more happy and peaceful lives. Not only will this significantly improve their mental health, but it will also make them work better. Companies can also create a work-life balance by introducing focus group activities or social events where everyone can hang out together and enjoy themselves. Companies should also play their part and ensure they are not giving extra workload to their employees. Extra work causes workers to feel pressurized, and they have to sit long hours to meet deadlines. It will cause a decline in productivity and can cause anxiety and stress. Moreover, employees tend to start feeling irritated and depressed because of the long working hours. It at times also leads to a lack of motivation, absenteeism, and low quality work.
5. Allow Employees Flexibility
Allowing your employees’ flexible deadlines and schedules will relieve those struggling with mental health issues. Many companies give flexibility to workers with physical injuries and should do the same with mental health challenges. One way to do this would be to provide them with options that help with their recovery process. Companies can also provide their workers with techniques to help them feel better. They can create a room with facilities such as meditation, yoga, etc. Companies should also allow their employees to work from home when they feel overwhelmed to come to the office. They should also be accommodating in case of absences regarding this issue and support them when they come back. Moreover, businesses should not hold back employees from utilizing their leaves. Instead, they should encourage them to use it and take a vacation from their hectic work lives.
Mental health problems can become an issue in companies. Employees end up being vulnerable to stress, which ends up affecting their work performance and health. Companies should try to bring awareness about this issue, make a safe space for their workers, offer programs to help, and allow them a flexible work-life balance. Companies should focus on prevention rather than suffering the consequences in case things get bad. They should remember that employees have a life outside work, and they should promote that in their work culture rather than discouraging it. They can keep social gatherings, create different encouraging employment opportunities, and work on creating a positive work environment.