Mental health is much more public and prominent today than in years past, and as entrepreneur Adam Ferrari explains, the workplace is not immune to mental health issues.
When employees are suffering from poor mental health, it can be damaging to themselves and your business. Not only can they weigh heavily on the person suffering, but it can also affect their productivity and create a stressful environment for others.
Businesses can play a role in helping to support their employees’ mental well-being. Here are some tips on how to do that.
Companies have long been expected to provide health benefits, including insurance and perks such as gym memberships. Today, businesses should also assist employees who have mental health challenges even if not legally obligated to do so (in many cases there is a legal obligation to accommodate).
This could include setting aside time each day for employees to “check out” and refresh, as well as resources such as access to therapists and mindfulness programs. In addition, many companies include memberships to wellness apps that can assist people through mindful meditation, yoga, and other exercises.
Train Your Managers
Often, employees are suffering from mental health on their own. They may not tell others about it, but there are outward signs they may display that other people could pick up on.
An excellent way for a business to support their employees’ mental health is to train all managers to spot emotional distress signs and what to do if they do. But unfortunately, employees will often pretend to be OK when they’re actually not.
Sometimes, all they need is a safe environment to express their feelings. Other times, they may need time away from work and professional help. If your managers can spot the signs of emotional distress and step in to help, employees will get a chance to get the help they need.
Create Open Lines of Communication
A lot of emotional distress, in general, is caused by a lack of communication. This is especially true in the workplace, where employees may feel they can’t express how they feel about their job, their manager, or the company in general.
When businesses create open lines of communication, it helps to dissolve these fears and dissipate the potential emotional distress that can come from it.
Employees should be welcome to give feedback on whatever might be on their minds openly. Rather than be punished for doing so, they should be celebrated.
Not only will these open lines of communication and feedback help employees’ mental health, it’ll likely lead to new ideas that can help improve the company overall.
Creating an inclusive work environment is critical for any company nowadays. There are immense benefits to doing so, which is why DEI programs — diversity, equity, and inclusion — are so popular.
When employees feel included, they feel valued. And when they feel valued, they’re less likely to be emotionally distressed because of the workplace.
When your work environment becomes inclusive, you’ll be making proactive communication the norm. For example, you’ll be checking in with all direct reports rather than waiting for them to come to you.
As Adam Ferrari explains, you’ll also create an individualized work environment that takes each person’s unique needs in mind. As a result, what affects one person might not affect someone else, and vice versa.
One employee may be dealing with childcare challenges, while another may be dealing with a completely different issue away from the office.
Having an inclusive work environment makes people feel comfortable sharing how they feel and doesn’t contribute to whatever mental health issues they’re dealing with.