Mental health in the workplace is an issue that often goes unnoticed and does not get the prioritization it needs to keep all employees happy and healthy. Understanding the importance of workplace wellness is essential for any boss or leader who has a genuine desire to provide a workplace culture that is welcoming, inviting, and extremely understanding, especially when it comes to mental health. Whether you are a store manager, a team leader, or the CEO of your own company, knowing how to address mental health at work while providing the proper workplace wellness resources is a way to ensure your employees that you are there for them, even in the toughest of times.
Offer Schedule Flexibility
With the advent of mobile smartphones and tablet devices, professionals from around the world are now working from home or remotely than ever. Consider offering employees and team members with the opportunity to request their own customized schedule. Provide employees with the ability to remain flexible with their current schedule based on their home life and any other obstacles they may face each day when attempting to commute to work. Allowing your employees to work from home (either part or full-time) is a great way to build trust with those you work with while providing them with additional home/work balance.
Employees who work remotely and from home also cost less in terms of overhead and the amount of space you require to maintain your headquarters or current office location. Schedule freedom and flexibility is extremely important to those who work in creative industries or professionals who simply prefer a bit more control over their work hours.
Encourage a Healthy Work/Life Balance
Always encourage a healthy work/life balance as a boss or a team leader. Lead your employees by remaining as a positive role model to look up to, especially if you have employees who are overly ambitious and at risk of experiencing burnout in their current position. Stress the importance of taking time away from work and tending to both the mental and physical health of each of your employees. Remind your employees that without a proper work/life balance it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain productivity and a healthy work ethic.
Host Regular Mental Health Meetings
Host regular mental health meetings weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly. Calling a mental health awareness meeting is a way to share struggles and challenges you have faced personally with regards to your mental health while eliminating the stigma of mental health in the workplace. Oftentimes, employees may view their mental struggles as weak, causing them to hide them from others as they avoid facing them head-on themselves. When individuals refrain from talking about their mental health struggles and stress, they are much more likely to find themselves in even more stressful situations at work, home, and even physically.
Encourage Honesty and Open Communication
Encourage your employees to share their thoughts, feelings, and opinions on mental health openly and honestly. Open communication is key to ensure you have a complete understanding of your employees and their needs when it comes to their mental health. Offer positive words of encouragement without ever singling out an employee who is currently struggling with anxiety, depression, or another mental health diagnosis. Stress the importance of creating an open and honest dialogue with your employees to prevent them from feeling further isolated, alienated, and along with their struggles, especially as they attempt to work each day.
Share Local Resources for Employees in Need
Share local mental health resources with all of your employees and team members. Create a list of local doctors, counselors, and even rehabilitation programs that are most relevant to your employees and the type of mental health issues they may be facing personally. Share resources on a public board in your workplace or during each of the mental health meetings you host throughout the month. Offer to help assist employees with seeking out any additional mental health resources and tools they may require by also promising confidentiality and trust.
Create Calming Spaces in Your Workplace
One way to help boost the overall morale and productivity of your employees while shining a light on mental health awareness is to improve the overall environment of your current office or workspace. Create calming spaces throughout your workplace by adding a meditation room or an area that includes comfortable seating, televisions, and even soothing sounds. Consider investing in games and workplace tools that have been designed to minimize or eliminate traditional workplace stress.
Allow your employees free time each day to unwind, focus on other projects, or simply decompress from stressful tasks, projects, or communication throughout the workday. When employees feel as if their mental health is tended to, they are much more likely to remain productive and loyal in your company.
Train Employees and Team Members to Better Understand Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness
While it is important for bosses and leaders to remain aware of potential mental health issues employees are currently facing, it is equally as essential for coworkers and team members to have a deeper understanding of mental health. Host classes or seminars on mental health issues that are most prevalent throughout your company’s market and industry.
Discuss mental health issues with all of your employees and team members, even if they are not currently experiencing mental and emotional trauma themselves. Training all of your employees about the classic signs and symptoms associated with mental health issues can help prevent burnouts and long-term issues with employees who are experiencing mental health trouble in the future.
Addressing mental health in the workplace does not have to feel daunting or overwhelming, especially if you have created a culture in your place of work that is understanding, accepting, and progressive when it comes to caring for mental health altogether. With the right tips, tools, and resources, drastically shift how employees and team members view your stance on mental health at work while providing a workplace environment that is willing to assist those who keep you in business as much as possible.