When your team members struggle with mental health issues, it can impact their work performance, personal relationships and even their physical health. That’s why it’s crucial to take proactive steps to support the emotional wellness of your employees. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of mental health in the workplace and some effective strategies you can adopt to create a culture that supports well-being and addresses mental health challenges.
Importance of mental health in the workplace
Unfortunately, many organizations don’t have initiatives to help employees struggling with mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. For example, only 23% of employees say employers are offering new mental health benefits. This lack of support can cause burnout and what’s called “silent disengagement.”
That’s where you come in. Since you have regular interactions with your team, you can play a vital role in promoting their well-being. Take the time to understand the signs of anxiety and depression and identify any team members who may be struggling. Providing employee mental health support can make a significant difference in their lives and lead to a more productive workforce. By prioritizing the emotional wellness of your team, you can reduce absenteeism and labor costs, ultimately improving your ROI. Remember, your team’s well-being is not only beneficial for them but for your organization as a whole.
5 steps to improve mental health at work
When it comes to supporting the emotional wellness of your team, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Every individual has unique needs and experiences that may require a customized approach. However, there are essential steps you can follow to create a culture that prioritizes emotional wellbeing.
Step 1: Raise awareness
Stigma around emotional wellness makes it difficult for people to talk about their struggles, seek help or even acknowledge the importance of emotional wellness in their lives. Organizing workshops, mental health training programs or lunch-and-learn sessions to educate employees on mental health issues, their signs and symptoms and how to seek help could all effectively remove that stigma. Employees will then feel more empowered to discuss their mental well-being and seek help when needed, ultimately resulting in their increased productivity, engagement and motivation.
Step 2: Develop holistic employee mental health resources
Consider offering employee assistance programs (EAPs) and other initiatives to infuse well-being amongst your employees. These resources can provide guided meditation and therapy to help employees cope with stress, anxiety or depression by providing coaching, exercises and education. You can also offer counseling services with mental health professionals, as well as workshops and support groups focusing on mindfulness and self care. Equipping your team with the skills they need to take control of their emotional well-being can help them thrive both in and out of the workplace.
Step 3: Implement your emotional wellness program
To maximize the benefits of an emotional wellness program, consider leveraging a holistic approach that supports the mental health of your employees. Once you have developed the program, it’s time to launch it. This can involve communicating the program’s goals and benefits through various channels, such as email announcements, flyers, and meetings. Emphasize to your employees that the program is a safe and confidential space where everyone can seek support and resources without fear of judgment or repercussions. This helps you create a positive and thriving workplace culture that benefits everyone involved.
Step 4: Accept and apply constructive employee feedback
Once you’ve implemented your mental health program, it’s essential to gather feedback to evaluate its effectiveness. You can collect feedback through surveys, focus groups or one-on-one conversations that are tailored to evaluate the program’s ability to address your team’s mental health needs. Listening carefully to your team’s suggestions and concerns will help you improve the program to better serve their needs. This also fosters a sense of investment and engagement. When your team feels that their voices are heard and that their opinions matter, they are more likely to feel connected and committed to the organization’s mission and mental wellness programs.
Step 5: Lead by example
By demonstrating good emotional wellness practices yourself, you can inspire and encourage your teammates to prioritize their own emotional well-being. This can include modeling healthy habits, such as taking breaks throughout the day, practicing mindfulness or meditation and setting clear boundaries between work and personal life. Senior leaders should always communicate the importance of prioritizing emotional wellness and show that it’s not only acceptable but also beneficial to take care of yourself.
Additional tips for creating a supportive work environment
Now that we’ve covered the essential steps for supporting emotional wellness in the workplace, let’s dive into some additional tips for creating a supportive workplace environment. These tips are designed to help you go above and beyond in fostering a healthy culture that prioritizes well-being. While they may seem self-explanatory, they can have a big impact on morale and productivity, and can help your organization stand out as an employer that truly cares about its team.
Measure and analyze the impact of your emotional wellness activities
When you regularly track your emotional wellness activities, you can identify what’s working and what’s not, so you can adjust accordingly to meet the needs of your organization and employees. And the best part? You don’t have to spend a ton of time and resources manually gathering data. Using software to track and analyze your mental health program’s performance can save time and resources while still effectively identifying opportunities for improvement.
Support a healthy work-life balance
When your team has time to pursue hobbies, spend time with family and friends, or simply relax and recharge, they are more likely to come to work feeling more refreshed and motivated. This can lead to increased job satisfaction, improved morale and lower burnout rates. By offering flexible schedules, encouraging time off, and promoting work-life balance initiatives, you can show your team that you value their well-being at work and outside of work.
Help employees reduce, not just manage, stress
Stress is an inevitable part of work, but it can take a toll if not addressed properly. Simply managing stress isn’t always enough to prevent employee burnout, health issues and low morale. By helping to reduce everyone’s stress levels, you can create a healthier and more supportive workplace that prioritizes the mental wellness of your team. This can include encouraging breaks during the workday and offering support and assistance for tasks when necessary. People who feel supported in managing their stress are likely to feel more satisfied and engaged at work, leading to a positive impact on organizational culture.
Make it easy for employees to use mental health benefits
It’s important to make sure everyone in your organization has easy access to benefits, but it’s not just about having these resources and mental health services available — it’s also about making sure they understand how to use them effectively. Take the time to explain the benefits thoroughly, and help them feel comfortable reaching out when they need support. When everyone is on the same page and knows how to access the resources they need, you’ll have a team that’s more confident, engaged and productive.
Stay connected with your employees
As a senior leader, it’s essential for you to stay connected with your team by regularly checking in with them, listening to their feedback and responding to their needs. Encourage open communication and provide a safe space for them to share their thoughts and concerns. With the rise of remote work, it’s more important than ever to make sure people feel connected to their colleagues and their organization. Simple acts like virtual team-building activities and regular video calls can help foster a sense of community and belonging.
Enjoy some fresh air from the outdoors
Taking a break to enjoy some fresh air outside can do wonders for employee well-being and productivity. Encourage employees to step outside for a few minutes during the workday to take a walk or simply enjoy the scenery. Better yet, hold meetings or brainstorming sessions outdoors if the weather permits. Spending time in nature has been shown to reduce stress levels and increase creativity, so incorporating outdoor activities into the workday can benefit everyone in your organization.
Practice gratitude with your team
Take a few minutes during meetings to encourage team members to share what they are grateful for. This simple practice can boost morale, foster a sense of community and increase overall well-being. Additionally, expressing gratitude for each other can help build strong relationships and promote teamwork. Try incorporating this practice into your team’s routine to see the positive impact it can have on your workplace culture and mental health concerns.
Start holistically supporting your employees with Limeade
Improving employee well-being is key to a successful and productive workplace. By implementing these practices, you can help your team thrive both personally and professionally. If you’re interested in learning more about how Limeade can support your organization’s holistic approach to well-being, book a demo today. Let’s work together to create a workplace where everyone can feel their best.
Free resource: 6 must-read mental health books
When it comes to the workplace, there’s no better time to start promoting mental health regularly. We’ve rounded up a few must-read mental health books to add to your list.