We know that workplace well-being isn’t just about physical well-being — it’s much more holistic. Mental health plays a huge role in whole-person well-being — it includes emotional, psychological and social well-being, ultimately affecting how people think, feel and act.
Mental Health in the Workplace
When it comes to employee mental health, the impact on people and business is significant. It’s been found that “mental illnesses such as depression are associated with higher rates of disability and unemployment.” Research on depression, job performance and work productivity also found that “depression interferes with a person’s ability to complete physical job tasks about 20% of the time and reduces cognitive performance about 35% of the time.”
For companies to care for employees, start by making mental health a priority in the workplace. From managing stress to addressing work hours and building trust, there’s many strategies you can put into play to show support. It’s also up to managers and leaders to encourage this type of support by providing employees various activities and resources.
Here are three ways you can make mental health in the workplace a priority:
1. Practice gratitude
Gratitude is an easy way to connect, improve self-esteem and build resilience. Research has found gratitude can have a positive impact on relationships, sleep and other physical health factors. There are a few ways employees can easily build gratitude into their workday, such as making lists and reminders of strengths along with what they’re thankful and grateful for.
2. Get outside
Fresh air and enjoying the outdoors can be more beneficial thank you think. A study found that “nature-based recreation has a strong potential to improve mental health outcomes in areas of general well-being, resilience, restoration and cognition, with some potential for decreasing symptoms of anxiety, stress and depression.” From a walk around the block to eating lunch outside, promote getting outside even if it is just for a few minutes.
3. Stay connected
Feeling connected and a sense of togetherness with coworkers can boost both physical and mental health. It’s also just as important to prioritize personal relationships such as family and friends — as work and home life are intertwined. While managers can support connection through weekly 1:1s or dedicated time to team bonding, there are also a few activities employees can participate in to foster a sense of connection and community. Try writing letters and cards to friends or coworkers to check-in on how they’re doing or compliment their work.