Four Ways To Support Your Employees Mental Health
A lot of our lives revolve around work. We adjust every minute and important detail of our life in accordance with our work schedules. People plan celebrations- birthdays, anniversaries, and other important events keeping in mind that it doesn’t clash with their work routine. However, adopting work from home has blurred the lines between work and life. In many cases, it has forced people to rethink the boundaries they should establish between their personal and professional lives.
However, it becomes the responsibility of the management or leadership to ensure that workplaces place importance on mental health as part of their culture. According to research conducted by Unum, 49% of employees put mental health in their top three concerns. One of the top reasons for putting mental health as a concern was due to the struggle of juggling everything.
This data begs the question: What can startups or workplaces do to ensure that employees can not only take care of themselves but also thrive at work?
Here are four ways through which workplaces can ensure better mental health of their employees:
1. Ensure transparent communication - According to a study by pumble.com employees or teams who have transparent communication can increase their productivity by 25%. To top that, 86% of employees and executives blame lack of communication and collaboration as the main causes for workplaces failures. When leadership and management have effective communication as the core part of their culture and routine, it empowers employees and makes them feel safe enough to discuss not just the gravest matters but also mundane issues and tasks.
2. Create an environment that fosters psychological safety- According to the Center for Creative Leadership, psychological safety at the workplace is defined as the belief that an employee, leader, or manager will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, conflicting views, concerns or mistakes. It’s a shared belief held by members of a team that others on the team will not embarrass, reject, or punish you for speaking up. Imagine a workplace where people are rewarded for their ability to come up with new or ideas that vary from other team members. Such workplaces ensure that it is safe for people to be themselves at work and not bifurcate their personalities for work and home.
Here’s how can leaders establish psychological safety at work:
- Genuinely facilitate an environment that encourages everyone to speak up. The idea is to be open-minded and non-judgmental when someone speaks up. This will allow the employee to know that they can trust you.
- Creating space and understanding for how everyone communicates. It’s imperative to understand that no two employees will have the same communication pattern.
- Avoiding patterns of blame. When leaders establish a safe environment- it must instill a feeling of belongingness.
3. Provide or offer mental health training- Offering vouchers or therapy provisions can only do so much. What’s equally or more important is for managers or team leaders to undertake training that allows them to understand signs of depression, anxiety, and other common mental health conditions.
4. Reducing stigma and promoting well-being as part of the company’s culture- Destigmatizing mental health can be done through discussing what struggles and challenges employees are facing or have faced at the workplace. Reducing or abolishing shame around mental health discussions should be of prime importance. Employees must feel that their voice will not be shunned, rather it will be listened to and dealt with. Simply letting people know that they can have a day or two off to take care of themselves goes a long way.
There’s already enough noise about mental health for workplaces. However, since the pandemic hit the world, cases of employees reporting mental health issues have quadrupled. The uncertainty that has arisen due to the past two years has affected workplaces tremendously. With lines getting blurred between work and personal life- prioritizing mental wellbeing has to be of utmost importance.