By | Charlie Fletcher
Your employees spend a significant chunk of their week at work. As a business leader, it’s important that you create a workplace culture that values their mental health.
Creating a supportive environment isn’t just the right thing to do. A supportive environment can also bolster productivity at work and lead to higher job satisfaction amongst your employees. This has a knock-on effect on retention and may even help you recruit more talented employees in the future.
Supporting mental health can also give you an advantage over the competition. Despite the clear benefits of supporting mental health in the workplace, many businesses don’t take mental health seriously. Only 47% of employees believe that their company leaders advocated for their mental health at work, and half of those employees report that they left their last job due to mental health reasons.
As a business leader, you can get ahead of the curve by advocating for a workplace culture that values mental health.
Mental Health at Work
You may not realize it, but your work environment has a major impact on mental health. In fact, employee pride is correlated with positive company culture and the way in which a supervisor manages the company. As a leader, you can use this insight to create a work environment where employees feel safe, valued, and supported.
When assessing the state of mental health at your workplace, it’s important to focus on employee health even when they’re away from work. For example, you can survey employees to track things like sleep issues, burnout levels, confidence, and overall motivation.
You can also collect anonymous surveys to assess the effectiveness of your own communication style. About 50% of employees report that they don’t feel as though they receive enough guidance from supervisors. These employees would benefit from more regular check-ins and relevant feedback to help them improve their performance at work and mental health. This is something that you can integrate into your managerial style to boost morale and foster productivity.
Job satisfaction can also play a major role in employee mental health. As a leader, you need to be on the lookout for employees who are becoming dissatisfied and may require a shift in responsibilities.
If you notice that your employees are bored at work or suffering from burnout, take proactive measures to help them increase their job satisfaction. This might include steps like:
- Offering extra training so employees can work more productively;
- Offering new roles and responsibilities;
- Offering flexible work for better work-life balance;
- Funding education for career growth.
Each of these steps shows that you care about your employees and their mental health. This will help you develop trust with your employees and reassure them that you are on their side. As a result, employees will be more likely to take self-care opportunities and will be more invested in your workplace culture.
As a leader, you can’t force your employees to practice healthier habits or self-care routines. However, you can help your employees live better, healthier lives by promoting self-care initiatives at work.
Basic, daily self-care habits, like getting enough sleep and washing frequently, are hard to incentivize at work. However, you can actively promote other healthy habits, like eating healthy foods, staying hydrated, practicing mindfulness, and taking up a hobby. You can achieve this by offering:
- Reduced-price/free, healthy lunches at work;
- Creating a quiet, “mindful” space in your office;
- Allowing flexible working hours so folks can practice their hobbies;
- Providing plenty of flavored water and hot drinks like tea and coffee.
These small steps can make a big difference to your employee’s overall well-being and mental health.
You may need to incentivize mental health wellness initiatives to promote greater engagement. Some wellness initiative roadblocks include when:
- Employees don’t know wellness initiatives even exist;
- Employees see no value in the initiative;
- Employees aren’t motivated to engage.
You can usually overcome these roadblocks with a little planning and preparation before you roll out your new mental health initiative. Make sure all your materials are well-advertised across multiple channels and give employees a clear reason to engage with the initiative.
You may find that remote employees struggle to engage in your mental health initiatives. You can overcome this by giving remote employees extra attention and creating a mental health action plan just for them. This should include basic tips, like how to network remotely and remote-specific engagement opportunities. Ensure that remote employees know that their input is valued and consider opening new communication platforms, like a remote employee Facebook group or Slack channel.
The place you work has a major impact on your mental health. As a leader, it’s your job to ensure that your workplace culture is positive and values mental health. You can achieve this by rolling out wellness initiatives, catering to remote employees, and offering career growth opportunities based on employee feedback.