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May 02, 2022

Mental Health Awareness: How to Prioritize Your Employee's Mental Health

According to some research, 90% of employees say that workplace stress has affected their mental health. If you want to avoid poor mental health problems for your employees, you need to set strategies to support them.

May is known as Mental Health Awareness Month, so this is the perfect time to show your employees that you care about their mental wellbeing. 

However, this is a difficult subject to discuss, especially since there is so much stigma attached to mental illness. As HR experts, we know how important it is to incorporate these initiatives into your company culture, so keep reading to see what strategies you can try.

Why Should You Care?

With 800 million people in the world having some mental health disorder, there’s a good chance that you have an employee who has a mental illness.

Prioritizing employee mental health shows your employees that you care about them and want to ensure that they’re happy and healthy. Employees report that they feel stressed and burnt out both in their personal and work life, which means that you can try and relieve some of that stress. 

In addition to that, if you don’t emphasize care for your employees, it can affect their physical health and performance, hurting your revenue. If you don’t focus on mental health initiatives, you could have low productivity, safety liabilities, disengaged employees, a lower profit, and a higher turnover rate. For example, studies have shown that depression can interfere with an employee’s ability to complete cognitive tasks 35% of the time and physical tasks 20% of the time. 

To fix that, you need to implement mental health initiatives and show your employees that you care about your employee’s wellbeing. 

Evaluate Your Mental Health Initiatives

If you already have some existing mental health initiatives, you’re already taking a step in the right direction. However, it doesn’t hurt to review them. If you don’t have any, you’ll need to create some. 

You’ll need to first understand how the mental health in your organization is. Sending out a survey will help you identify different factors, support systems, and areas to make improvements. You can start by sending an anonymous survey to your employees. You don’t need to make it an entirely formal process, but you may want to ask questions covering a few main topics. 

For example, you might want to ask them if they think good mental health policies are in place. You can also ask them about their workloads. Are the workloads manageable and suitable for them? Do they feel stressed out too often? What levels of stress do they feel throughout the workweek?

Do employees feel like they have a chance to learn and grow in their field? If they have opportunities to keep learning, they’re more likely to be engaged and happy in their position. 

You’ll also want to ask questions about their work environment. Whether in-office or at their home, is the workspace generally a friendly, welcoming environment? Or are there problems like low morale, bullying, and rude employees? 

Once you get the answers to this survey, you’ll know which areas you need to improve. Addressing these problems might seem daunting to some business owners, but many employee assistance programs will help you improve the mental health environment at your business. 

Promote Connection

Whether your employees are working in the office, remotely, or in a hybrid environment, it’s essential that all employees feel a sense of connection and togetherness with their coworkers. If they don’t feel connected with the rest of their team, this could cause mental health problems. 

Managers can help create that connection by having weekly one-on-ones with their employees and setting aside time for meetings and team bonding. These events or meetings can help develop a sense of community and promote the team’s mental health. However, you may want to host events that will allow employees to bond with employees outside of their department. Hosting these events can be difficult in a remote environment, but there are still ways that you can have that connection through zoom or in-person company retreats. 

Make sure that you’re allowing your employees to connect with their family and friends. Work and home life are often connected, and it’s essential for everyone to feel like they’re supported. To ensure that they can connect with their family and friends, don’t overload your employees with work and have a good work-life balance. 

Reduce and Manage Stress

When you identify the main stressors for your employees, address them. You might need to create flexible hours, hybrid work models, or remote working for people who are too busy. 

If people are stressed because they’re overworked, you might need to hire more staff, use contractors, look at your budget, or prioritize projects over others.

Encourage Employees to Use PTO

You should make sure that your employees have an excellent PTO package so that they don’t have to worry about not being able to take enough time off. However, if they have a good package, you’ll want to encourage them to use it. 

According to one study, in 2018, there were 768 million unused vacation days. However, there has also been research done that people who plan out their vacations and use their PTO are happier in several areas of their life, including at work. 

Even if they don’t go on a vacation, employees can still use the time off to find enjoyment outside of the workplace and focus on recharging...

Source: Recruiter.com - Daily Articles and NewsTRG Retirement Guide

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