Employee mental health is directly tied to the success and livelihood of your business. Leaving mental health in the workplace unaddressed and stigmatized at any time is a quick way to cripple your company and the human beings who dedicate their time to it.
Let’s look at some ways you can provide support and accommodation for employees in a changing and modern world.
Mental Health in the Workplace in 2021
Until recent years, mental health within a workplace was severely underlooked. People struggled in silence with illnesses no one else could see, and in many places, they still do. That’s why you must incorporate conversations and support for mental health into your business model.
Your employees are the lifeblood of your business. They are the ones interacting with customers and leaving lasting impressions with them. If your team isn’t mentally well, it can profoundly impact how they interact with customers.
Not only are your employees responsible for keeping your business running efficiently, but they’re people who are under your care and supervision. They might be adults, but they deserve a safe and comfortable environment to work in.
Employee Mental Health Statistics
Mental health in employees has taken a nosedive since 2020, and in 2021, a report from Mental Health America shows that 9/10 employees experience decreased mental health and stress directly from their job.
Of that total, only 5% of employees said they even felt comfortable expressing mental health issues to management. Most workplaces don’t show much support for mental health in a time where it's more important than ever.
People spend more time at their jobs than at home, which is troubling if they’re constantly miserable and looking for a job elsewhere. Their mental health affects how they work with each other, their productivity, and their interactions with your valued customers.
How the Pandemic Affects Employee Mental Health
COVID-19 has left many people isolated, sick, or fearful of becoming ill. There was an unprecedented loss of employment that upheaved entire lives all across the country. People were left without knowing where their lives would go and if it would ever be the same.
The pandemic has caused a sharp rise in depression and anxiety. Some of these were already present but magnified exponentially so. A more open online presence of people talking about their mental health has made it normal to talk about your mental health.
The pandemic has created a lot of loss, but it also allowed us to be more empathetic with one another. We understand what others are going through and can show support in our personal and professional lives. Employee mental health during Covid-19 is essential to acknowledge for this reason.
Mental Wellness for Yourself and Your Team
You wouldn’t force an employee into a position where they have to walk a lot if they broke their leg. The same goes for mental illness. The tricky part is, because of stigma, many people have to walk on a broken leg mentally, no matter what.
There needs to be an environment in the workplace where employees can feel comfortable addressing what’s hurting and holding them back. If they had a physical injury, the goal would be to get them healthy again to come back to work.
There are multiple ways you can start the process of creating a mental health-inclusive workplace.
Address Your Own Mental Health
A manager’s transparency and accountability let your employees know they are safe to speak about their own health. Managing a business in these times can be stressful and take its toll on all of us.
Learn the Signs
Take the time to learn about the most common mental illnesses and the side effects they give people. Pay attention to your employees and how they act. Sometimes substance abuse happens because of an untreated mental illness.
Send Out Weekly Emails
Many people don’t know that they aren’t alone in the struggle. Send a weekly check-in email with information on the company’s resources and employee mental health programs. This way, employees can have access to links and critical information.
Check on Employees Individually
At the end of the day, you know how your employees tend to act at work. It means a lot when someone shows interest and care, pushing beyond a simple “Hi, how’re you?” This can also mean sending out a mental health email to employees.
Creating Employee Benefits for Mental Health
Snapping your fingers won’t make problems disappear, but hard work and genuine consideration for the well-being of your employees go a long way. They’re people with lives and stressors, many of which are money.
Here are some of the benefits you can consider for helping keep people mentally healthy and productive while on the job.
Cover Mental Health in an Insurance Policy
Simply covering mental health for an employee can change their life for the better. Insurance is difficult and expensive, and many have to choose between paying rent and helping their crippling depression.
Covering this area of health with employee mental health benefits means you will also improve employee mental health overall.
Offer Mental Health Days
Sick days are offered, so why not allow an employee to rest and recharge with a mental health day? The culture of shaming and guilting someone over taking time to recover rather than work keeps people from ever resting at all.
Managing and supporting mental health at work means allowing your employees to recover and rest when needed.
Pay a Living Wage
Living is expensive and stressful in modern times. Simply having enough money to feed themselves and their family will reduce stress exponentially. Employees are more willing to work if they know the job they’re working will take care of them.
Conduct Anonymous Surveys on Where to Improve
One of the best ways to know where your company lacks is to have your employees submit reviews, concerns, and ideas for improvement through a questionnaire.
If you’re wondering how to support employees during the pandemic and outside of it, taking care of your employees should be your top priority. This care means addressing and helping them through problems you can’t always visually see.
Your employees will have a better disposition and life quality if you’re being open and transparent, fighting stigma, and offering better benefits and pay.
Take a look at your business and see where you can improve your employees' work experience by helping their mental health in these trying times.
About the Author, James Webster
James Webster, founder and CEO of ROK Financial has almost two decades of experience within the financial services industry. His passion for helping small business owners and his innovative way of thinking, has allowed him to run multiple successful businesses including National Business Capital & Services. Under the National name, the team was able to help secure over $1 Billion in financing for small businesses nationwide.