Workplace mental health challenges are more common than you might think — and they’re only gaining prevalence.
The Mind Share Partners’ 2021 Mental Health at Work Report concluded that workplace mental health challenges are “now the norm” among employees at all organizational levels. In their survey, 76 percent of employees reported at least one symptom of a mental health condition in the year prior — up from 59 percent in 2019. Examples of reported symptoms included anxiety, depression, and burnout.
Workplace mental health challenges result in decreased quality of life for employees. These issues can also negatively impact productivity. So, as an employer, prioritizing staff well-being is good for business. But even more importantly? It’s just the right thing to do.
Wondering where to begin? In this article, you’ll discover nine effective ways to support workplace mental health and make your company a better place to work. Keep reading to learn more.
1. Boost Workplace Mental Health with Mental and Physical Activity
Your employees invest hours into building your organization every day. Show them you care by investing in them, too. For example, you can promote your employees’ mental health by encouraging them to be mentally and physically active.
Remember: the simple act of showing up to work doesn’t mean an employee is in perfect health. And when work-related stress builds to unsustainable levels, it can have adverse effects on mental and physical health. So, keep your employees engaged! Try organizing fun activities — like quizzes and charades — that your employees can enjoy at work to decompress.
Alternatively, you can hire or partner with outside organizations to hold workplace meditation courses and yoga workshops in the office. Both are excellent ways to improve mental health and well-being. Remember, your employees can only work to their full potential if they are fit in body and mind.
2. Foster Team-Building
Team-building activities can improve the psychological well-being of your employees. They can also help to ensure that projects run smoothly even when you, the leader, are busy with other things. Additionally, team-building teaches employees to value each other’s unique contributions to the company’s success.
Want to ensure that your colleagues can work in harmony, communicate effectively, and help each other in times of need? Incorporate team-building activities and games — such as scavenger hunts, egg drops, and the human knot — into your office schedule with some regularity.
The key to successful team-building? Make sure that every team member participates — and takes a much-needed break from their routine tasks.
3. Offer Flexible Working Hours
Most leaders have endless responsibilities to juggle. From managing their team and crunching numbers to powering through tasks and preparing reports, there’s always a long to-do list waiting.
Due to task delegation, this long to-do list often leads to the entire team being swamped with work. And along with delegation comes the tendency of many leaders to micromanage their employees.
But micromanaging is bad for business — and workplace mental health. Instead, give your team some autonomy by encouraging flexible working hours.
Given the rise in remote work, it’s likely that some of your employees work from home — and have more to manage than office-related duties. Providing flexible work hours demonstrates a little empathy that can go a long way. It gives employees peace of mind while also helping them accomplish tasks on time.
4. Provide Employees with Emotional Support
If you believe that your employees are duty-bound because of a paycheck, think again! You would do well to remember that members of your team are human beings with real feelings and emotions. They’re not robots who exist solely to work and follow your orders.
As an employer, you have a responsibility to support your employees — not just monetarily, but emotionally. This can take the form of personal mentorship sessions or regular efforts at team motivation. Whatever you do, make it a point to value your colleagues’ emotions. Because when employees have a safe space to voice concerns? They’re more open to new ideas and challenges, too.
5. Allow Employees to Take Mental Health Days
Just because you’re physically fit doesn’t mean you are in tip-top shape to work. Sometimes employees are unable to give 100 percent to their work, even when they are physically present day after day. Over time, poor mental health takes a toll on productivity and impedes cognition.
For these reasons, you should encourage employees to take time off from work to handle mental challenges. Have an employee who just completed an especially intense project? Allow them a day off to refresh their mind before they jump into new duties and responsibilities.
6. Share Resources to Improve Workplace Mental Health
Good reads and engaging videos never go out of style. So why not share tangible resources with your employees that can improve their mental health?
This could be something as simple as a new breathing technique or a quick one-minute exercise to reduce anxiety. Offering your employees actionable wellness resources like these makes them feel valued. Better yet? It encourages them to prioritize their own mental health.
7. Schedule Regular Check-Ins
Don’t forget to check in regularly with your team members in one-on-one meetings. Did you know that people often aren’t comfortable sharing new ideas or personal challenges in front of the entire team? Indeed, employees can feel excluded or undervalued in the workplace when they lack face-time with management.
Personal sessions allow you to develop better connections with your employees while addressing issues or concerns head-on. Additionally, one-on-one conversations help team members open up about any personal or mental health issues affecting their work.
Another benefit? These sessions can bring innovative ideas to light that employees may otherwise have hesitated to share in a group setting.
8. Champion Frequent Breaks
Research has shown that breaks at work boost productivity. So, why not encourage your employees to take time out to relax throughout the day? You could start with regular morning and afternoon coffee breaks.
Everyone needs a few breaks during the workday to recharge their batteries. Inspire your workers to maximize their break time by stretching, walking around, or even taking a quick nap. Activities like these can reduce the stress level and improve the mood of your employees.
9. Conduct Surveys
Have you ever considered surveying your employees to check in on their well-being? Anonymous surveys are an excellent way to get honest insights into important issues such as workload, work-life balance, and work-related stress.
Here are a few sample questions:
- “During the past four weeks, how often have you felt sad or depressed?”
- “Do you feel like your company currently aids in stress management?”
- “How would you rate your work-life balance?”
Send a survey now to check the pulse in your workplace, learn how your employees currently feel about mental wellness, and discover how your company can better support them.
You can check Incfile’s survey on mental health and entrepreneurship. They uncovered data from business owners, consultants, and freelancers across 13 industries and varied cultural backgrounds and ethnicities to give us insights we can use to better support small businesses and mental health — together.
As an employer, it’s your responsibility to be proactive about mental wellness and support a healthy workplace for your employees. A little bit of empathy and compassion can go a long way in fostering employee well-being — and, as we’ve shown, it’s also good for business. So, what do you have to lose?