Since 1949, May has been dedicated as Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to recognize and be educated on those that struggle with mental health illness or concerns. Recently, employers have taken notice at the importance of maintaining employee’s mental health and implementing strategies to improve employee mental well being. Not only are mental health initiatives helpful to employees, but promoting mental health in the workplace can lead to several benefits for employers.
Impacts of Poor Mental health on the Workplace
Mental health issues influence employees lives inside and outside of the workplace. As an employer, it is important to recognize how mental health issues take a toll on employees and can negatively impact many work-related areas including:
- Decreased productivity and performance
- Decreased engagement with one’s work
- Poorer communication with coworkers
- Decreased physical capability and functioning
Employers need to take the importunity presented by Mental Health Awareness Month and look for ways to support their employees.
Here are a few ways to promote better mental health in your workforce:
- Institute a “no-contact” policy for after work hours: For most employees, personal time valuable and very important to them and their mental health. They don’t want to go home after a long day and continue to be contacted when off their clock. This can cause stress and anxiety and overall lead to burn out over time. So, implementing a no-contact policy do after an employee leaves for the day can relieve those feelings of stress an anxiety.
- Be Mindful of Your Words and Give Praise: For many employees, a simple praise can make a world of a difference on their day. So try checking in on your employees and check their behaviors for indicators of stress or anxiety so that you can determine if you may need to give this employee some mental health breaks in the coming future or maybe send the employee a mindfulness gift package with tools to help them cope with stress.
- Employee Recognition: Words of praise can go a long way, so maybe the next time your employee completes a difficult or even simple task, let them know that they are appreciated by you and the company. Sometimes just a few encouraging words can remind an employee of their purpose within the company.
- Encourage Fun and Team-Building Activities: Your employees may benefit from a break from the mundane 9-5 day, so maybe try taking them for a lunch break at a local restaurant or catering in the office. Try a team building exercise, such as a friendly office decorating competition or video game challenge. Maybe even allow your employees to bring their pets in for a day. Just some events that break up the typical workday in a fun and engaging way.
- Host a Mindfulness Course: Another way to break up the typical workday that would be beneficial can be to host a mindfulness course with a speaker. You can invite someone into the office to show your employees different ways to manage stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns both in the office and personally.
- Mental Health Insurance Benefits: Probably one of the best ways to let your employees know that you care about their mental health is to offer insurance plans that pay for all or a portion of the cost to seek out treatment. Many that struggle with mental illness lack access to treatment for a variety of reasons, so eliminating a monetary burden can really make a huge impact on your employees and show care for their mental well-being. Additionally, offering paid mental health days that can be used without having to take accrued time off or a day without pay can make a huge impact as well.
Addressing your employees mental health concerns is important for your business and its employees. Employees with proper access to mental healthcare tend to perform better and can make the work environment a positive one which, in turn, assists your business and those within your organization.
If you are an employer interested in learning more about what you can do to better support your employees and promote mental wellness, you can find resources at www.mhanational.org and at workplacementalhealth.org.