Your employees are the backbone of your business, and it's vital to do what you can to support their mental health. There is a tendency to believe that any time spent on anything other than work is time wasted. This couldn't be further from the truth. We often forget that our employees are the most critical asset.
When they neglect their mental health, it leads to decreased productivity, more errors, and an overall deterioration of their work—resulting in a significant toll on their psychological and physical health.
Here are a 6 ways to create a mentally healthy workplace:
1. Offer flexible work options.
If your employees struggle with anxiety or depression, rigid work schedules can adversely affect them. Instead, offer flexible work options whenever possible. This could mean letting employees choose their hours, work from home when needed, or take time off.
You can shift to a model where employees are evaluated based on their work rather than heavily focusing on the number of hours.
2. Encourage breaks and days off.
Employees must take breaks throughout the day, even if it's just a few minutes to step away from their desks. Encourage your employees to use their break time wisely, whether taking a walk, reading a book, or meditating.
You can also ask the managers to monitor which employees are not taking any leaves. Personally encourage them to take breaks or start giving them mental health days off.
3. Support employees who are seeking help.
If an employee is struggling with their mental health, encourage them to seek professional help. Offer to subsidize their therapy or counseling sessions. Inform your employees of the value of seeking help. You can also connect employees with local support groups or online communities.
For example, if an employee is struggling with anxiety, suggest a community for people with anxiety for additional support.
4. Promote healthy lifestyle choices.
You can't force your employees to live healthy lifestyles, but you can encourage them by promoting healthy choices in the workplace. Offer healthy snacks in the break room, host fitness challenges, and provide discounts at local gyms or wellness centers.
Maybe you decide to set up a gaming center or nap pods where employees can decompress. Remember to create a culture where your employees feel comfortable taking breaks and using them.
5. Create an open and supportive environment.
Your employees should feel comfortable approaching you with any concerns, whether they're work-related or personal. Make sure your door is always open, and take the time to listen to what your employees have to say. It would help if you also created a zero-tolerance policy for workplace bullying or harassment. You can do this by setting up an anonymous reporting system, conducting regular training sessions, offering, and having a clear policy.
6. Offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).
If you want to do more to support your employees' mental health, consider offering an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAPs provide confidential counseling services for employees struggling with personal or work-related issues. Many EAPs also offer educational resources on stress management and conflict resolution.
As a business owner, the decisions you make today will affect the well-being of your staff in the future. Mental health can impact our overall productivity, which in turn impacts how successful we are in reaching our business goals. It may be tempting to put other priorities first, but that's a shortsighted strategy that could backfire. By taking steps towards supporting your staff's mental health and well-being, you can create a positive and productive workplace that benefits everyone involved—you included.