It’s hard to deny that mental health is one of the biggest issues that employers now face in the workplace. Many high-profile campaigns have significantly raised awareness surrounding mental health, and the health of employees is now at the top of the agenda for most modern businesses. Workplaces are not just bound to offer a physically safe working environment, but employees should also be able to work in an environment which is supportive of their mental health.
Modern workplaces now face a variety of challenges they didn’t grapple with even 10 years ago. From technology advancements and fast-paced lifestyles to new workplace cultures, there are new, and more damaging, worries playing on many employees’ minds. These worries can lead to higher staff turnover, increased stress, and low morale and productivity levels.
Take a look at your company culture
You may not realize it, but the day-to-day running of your company may be impacting the health of your employees. Each workplace has a different company culture, whether you believe in it or not. From productive and morale-boosting workplaces to disruptive and dis-engaging ones, each is different. Yet 1 in 6 employees will go through a mental health struggle each and every week.
Take a fresh look at the culture within your workplace and think: How would this feel for someone who is struggling with a mental health condition? You may not realize until you take a closer look, but it may be possible that your company is running on quite a negative culture, thus impacting the mental health of your employees.
If your employees are running at full capacity all the time — either by working through breaks and dinner hours or before and after work, or by constantly competing with one another — this is a negative workplace. But if your staff are regularly encouraged to take their breaks and have regular holidays, and they have supportive and open managers, this is a positive workplace.
Offer proper training
There is a popular saying, “People leave managers, not companies.” It is extremely expensive to hire and recruit new staff, meaning there’s a cost associated with high staff turnover.
Training managers to a high standard is key for maintaining leadership style, expectations, and communication and listening skills. It is highly important that employees understand what is expected of them and know they can engage with management in an open manner. Bullying and directive management can put people under a lot of pressure, stress, and expectation, leading to extended periods of time off or leaving altogether.
Is your workplace a catalyst for mental health problems?
Every business goes through busy periods in which staff are expected to do more than usual. But this should not turn into a permanent state of overwork. Putting too much pressure on your employees can cause mental health problems, including stress, depression, and anxiety. It can also aggravate underlying issues that your employees were managing until they were pushed too hard.
You must bear in mind that, as an employer, you are responsible for the health and wellbeing of your employees.
If a staff member is absent due to stress or mental health issues, you should proceed with caution and address the person compassionately. Monitor all ongoing situations and keep in mind that they may be pushing your employees too far.
Invest in employee wellbeing
Thankfully, more and more workplaces are supporting the mental health and needs of their employees. But this is not just as easy as reshaping health and safety policies and is more about supporting mental and physical health across all levels in the organization.
Remember that mental and physical health are closely connected. While offering gym memberships and healthy options in kitchens and break areas to care for employees’ physical health, try lunch outings and team workshops to help staff socialize and care for their mental health, too. It is important that employees understand how to handle stress at work, how to eat a balanced diet, and practice home and workplace relaxation techniques.
It is hugely positive that mental health within the workplace is being discussed more, but there is still so much more that can be done to boost the mental and physical health of employees within the workplace.
Employers who take genuine steps toward caring for the health of their employees will find that their workplaces will flourish. It is highly recommended that employers approach the mental health of their employees with a positive attitude in order to properly address it in a way which is beneficial to the individual, and the business.
Natalie Wilson is a freelance writer for many different business publications. With a range of knowledge in the business and insurance sector, she is an avid researcher and writer in the field. Having worked with a number of different businesses, Natalie is now a freelance writer looking to specialise in the topic. You can connect with her on Twitter @NatWilson976.