Mental health is very much a focus topic in the media right now, and rightly so. It’s been a tough time with so many factors affecting mental health, furlough, unemployment, ill health, personal loss and social anxiety to name just a few. Now more than ever it’s important to be supporting your employees mental health.
Around 1 in 6 workers are dealing with a mental health problem such as anxiety, depression or stress, which can affect performance in the workplace. Employees spend a great deal of time at work, many in highly stressful and busy environments, so it’s not enough to simply expect them to tackle their mental health struggles alone and during their time off. As an employer, you can benefit both the individual employee and the business as a whole by offering adequate support. Organisations perform better when their staff are healthy, motivated and focused.
Here’s How You Can Support Employee Mental Health
A lot of employers don’t know where to start when it comes to employee mental health, but being supportive is a lot easier than many people realise.
- Have Tools and Resources Available – A key part of supporting employee mental health is having tools and resources readily available. These should be aimed at a range of different mental health struggles, as well as being up to date. Information about mental health changes regularly, and resources need to reflect the most up to date information. Know where to signpost your employees for support including mental health support groups, telephone counselling services, or charities offering help. If you have the capacity and resources you can offer additional training, coaching or mentoring to make the employee feel more confident in their role and ability to perform.
- Encourage Employees to Speak Openly – Someone struggling with their mental health may feel embarrassed or worried about speaking to others, which is why encouraging the workplace to speak openly and candidly about mental health is important. Not only does this normalise mental health struggles, but it creates an encouraging environment with no stigma. Hold mental health awareness days to help encourage discussion (you can do this during Mental Health Awareness Week). Run a well-being event which focuses on physical and mental wellbeing, invite local health professionals to talk about nutrition, sleep, meditation, mindfulness and exercise. On a more personal level, have regular check-ins with your team members to check how they are, not just at work but outside of work too.
- Be Flexible and Offer Extra Support – You’ve started the conversation, it’s so important to listen and respond flexibly. It may be that you speak more positively about the work they can do rather than what they are struggling with. Offer support managing workloads. You could offer flexible work hours or more working from home. If they like being in the office, you could change their desk location to somewhere a bit quieter, closer to natural light or offer quiet rooms to use during the day. Adjustment to start and finish times or agreeing extra time off for mental health appointments helps to relieve pressure and anxiety.
Supporting Employee Mental Health Can Benefit You
There are a number of benefits that come with supporting your employees’ mental health, many of which are beneficial to the business as a whole. For example, it can boost the overall well-being of employees. This often leads to a boost in productivity, an engaged working environment and better morale. After all, happy and relaxed employees are a lot more likely to work hard. It can also lead to a reduced number of sick days taken by those struggling with their mental health, which helps the business to reduce delays that could otherwise be avoided.
It’s not only important for the employee to seek advice, you as the employer can too, such as the Mind Infoline or local Mind or visit the ACAS website.
By supporting employee mental health, you are benefiting both the business and the individual employee. At The Career Boutique, we connect talented individuals with impressive employers. If you are a professional in search of a new job, we can help. If you are a company in search of new talent, we can help you too. To find out more about The Career Boutique, get in touch.