Mental health in the workplace: why it matters and what employers can do
Some tips around mental health
Covid, war in Ukraine, crisis, inflation... We find a lot of concerns around us these days, and the job itself causes a lot of problems. In recent years, mental health in the workplace has become an increasingly important topic. As more and more people struggle with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and burnout, employers are recognizing the importance of creating a supportive and inclusive workplace environment that promotes good mental health.
Why mental health matters in the workplace
There are many reasons why mental health matters in the workplace. First and foremost, employees who are struggling with mental health issues are more likely to experience stress, fatigue, and decreased productivity. This can result in increased absenteeism, presenteeism (where employees are physically present but not fully engaged), and turnover.
Furthermore, mental health issues can have a ripple effect on the workplace, impacting employee morale, team dynamics, and overall organizational performance. In addition, employees who feel unsupported in their mental health struggles may be less likely to disclose their issues or seek help, which can further exacerbate the problem.
76% of U.S. workers in a 2021 survey reported at least one symptom of a mental health condition,
such as anxiety or depression, a 17% jump in only two years.
81% of workers said they will be looking for workplaces that support mental health in the future.
What Employers Can Do
Fortunately, there are many things that employers can do to promote good mental health in the workplace. Here are some strategies that employers can use to create a supportive and inclusive workplace environment:
Foster a culture of openness and support. Encourage employees to speak openly about mental health issues and create a safe and supportive environment for employees who may be struggling. This can include providing resources such as an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or mental health resources.
Provide training and education on mental health. Provide training for managers and employees on mental health issues, including how to recognize the signs of mental health issues and how to support employees who may be struggling.
Promote work-life balance. Encourage employees to take breaks and prioritize self-care. This can include offering flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting or flexible scheduling.
Address workplace stressors. Identify and address workplace stressors that may contribute to poor mental health, such as long hours, high workload, and poor communication.
Provide access to mental health resources. Offer employees access to mental health resources, such as counseling or therapy services. This can include offering an EAP or partnering with a mental health provider.
Lead by example. Model good mental health practices by promoting self-care and prioritizing mental health in your own life.
All 6 points above should be defined as (SMART) goals for your whole organization. Some of them should lay on the leadership shoulders. In any organization, managers and team leaders play a critical role in driving performance and achieving results, also with improving mental health. Without (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound), goals, even the most skilled managers and leaders will struggle to improve results and drive a change. If an organization truly values the health of its employees, then, similar to setting goals aimed at continuously improving financial results, goals aimed at improving employee health should also be prioritized.
Mental health is an important issue in the workplace that employers can no longer ignore. By fostering a supportive and inclusive workplace environment that promotes good mental health, employers can not only improve the well-being of their employees but also promote organizational performance and success. By implementing strategies like those listed above, employers can make meaningful progress in addressing mental health in the workplace and creating a culture of openness and support.
Have a healthy work-life!