While the stigma and shame of mental health are still on the rise, companies are continuing to see the importance of mental health in the workplace. According to the United Kingdom Department of Health and the Confederation of British Industry, 15-30% of workers will experience a form of mental health during their working lives. In fact, these mental health problems can cause numerous illnesses and disabilities. Albeit mental health problems due to work stress are common, employees experienced increased mental health issues because of the global pandemic.
To address this, some companies provided employee mental health programs such as webinars about meditation, yoga, and exercise–while others expressed their empathy towards their employees through curated gifts. Take Canva for example, a graphic design company based in Australia, which provided “mental health” kits for their employees. This has gained positive feedback not just from its employees, but from the public as well.
Other companies, such as Johnson & Johnson, provided a custom resilience app for their employees. This app uses behavioral science to decreased their stress–and also provides six covered therapies for their employees for a year. How cool is that?!
Anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues may sound dramatic, but it shows how it can affect the productivity of the employees. Employees suffering from mental health cannot perform well in their tasks, let alone contribute to the expansion of business. Because the signs of mental health problems are sometimes difficult to see and subtle, as an employer, you might want to check these signs to know whether your employee is burned out or might be experiencing a mental health problem:
- Your employee frequently calls in sick.
- Your employee doesn’t communicate consistently, cooperate, and participate in activities.
- Your employee has been having a devil-may-care attitude recently.
- Your employee doesn’t perform well or doesn’t meet deadlines continuously.
- Dramatic changes in character and socializing.
While it’s impossible to diagnose people with these signs, you can always try to help your employees overcome mental health issues. As a company, you play a vital role in promoting a healthy workplace for your employees through employee mental health programs–you will not only boost a more productive workplace but also improve your business.
Programs that you can try to improve your employee’s mental health:
Promote the importance of health. Including individual or group therapy for employees can help them de-stress from work. Aside from work problems, employees will also have the chance to tackle their personal issues that hinder them from working efficiently during individual or group therapy sessions. Aside from this, companies usually offer gym memberships that can encourage employees to exercise and prioritized their physical health.
Mindfulness programs. Inviting health and wellness speakers that can conduct health awareness will indulge your employees from everyday work. Providing various wellness activities such as meditation, yoga, or other mindfulness activities can strengthen not just your employees' mental health, but also their ability to focus on work.
Conduct engagement activities. Engagement activities not just help your employees to take a break from paperwork and deadlines, but also boosts their involvement and cooperation in the team. Some activities that you can try for team engagement can be the following:
- Team-building activities
- Competition, tournaments, mini-contests
- Recognition programs
- Personal skills-based activities such as sports fest, and talent contests
- Team lunch or dinner
Since remote work has continued to increase since the global pandemic, engagement activities might be lessened and more difficult to implement. However, you can still provide online engagement projects such as team game nights and awards programs online.
Building a healthy workspace: Beyond the physical and mental
While employee mental health programs matter, it’s important to look beyond the programs and material rewards–a healthy workspace should start from within. Creating a healthy work environment for the betterment of your employees doesn’t just give a rewarding feeling, but also promotes good practice for mental health. Some of the good interventions include:
Promoting a work-life balance. As an employer, it is important to let your employees know that you value their mental health through the fair contribution of workload. Encouraging over time and after work hours tasks promotes a toxic workplace. Engaging employees is not all about providing games and awards programs, but also giving honor to their personal time and space.
Encouraging your employees to work smart. The culture of being “ridiculously productive” to achieve success has been a norm for some companies. While it is important to be productive at work every day, your employees don’t have to work hard to the point of exhausting themselves. Educating your employees about various techniques for productivity at the workplace can help them maximize their time and yield even greater results.
Involving your employees. Employees, when involved in decision-making, plotting ideas, and organizational activities, empower their confidence and trust in the company. People in general love to be recognized and employees are easily encouraged at work if someone believes in them.
Plot a culture of transparency and consistent communication. More than anything, employees appreciate sympathetic ears. Promoting a two-way conversation can strengthen the employees' trust in the company, and vice versa. Consistent communication will help you to know your employees better, and be emphatic with them.
Employees work at their best when they’re mentally healthy–this is good both for the business and employee well-being. You can know if an employee is mentally healthy with these signs:
Active participation. Whether adding new ideas or participating in activities, happy employees are more cooperative. They suggest things that can be improved, and engage with colleagues more often.
Love doing great work. Mentally healthy employees love excellence–and do everything to achieve it. They love to produce great results that can help the expansion of their company. This includes being on time, meeting deadlines, and even going out of their way to provide efficient answers.
Motivated by a sense of excellence. Happy employees don’t go to work just for the paycheck–they work because they’re motivated to contribute to the betterment of the organization.
While mental health problems in the workplace are inevitable, spreading awareness and making efforts to combat it can make your organization a healthier place to work. The happiest employees produce the most efficient results–that can lead to tons of benefits in the long term.