The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown employee mental health into the limelight. Employers have come face to face with managing trying times in the workplace, bringing a heightened sense of urgency to the fight for work mental wellness.
Focusing on employee health and well-being is essential for your workers’ overall happiness as well as your business success. As mental health problems like depression and anxiety cost the global economy $1 trillion annually, putting employee mental health benefits first is beneficial for all.
How does a lack of mental health support negatively impact businesses?
Remote employee well-being and employee well-being in the workplace bring different challenges. Remote working can lead to increased presenteeism, which refers to the reduced levels of productivity brought by workers who are struggling with unaddressed mental health problems. The World Health Organization found that every $1 spent on employee mental health has a return of $4 in boosted productivity.
Citing mental health struggles as a reason for leaving a job is more common today than ever before. In fact, the Harvard Business Review reported that 61% of Millennials and 81% of GenZers left a job for mental health reasons. Whether the reason is overwhelming and unsustainable workloads or a lack of employee appreciation, positive mental health experiences are essential for retaining staff members.
How can your company put employee well-being first?
Open communication and destigmatization
The stigma surrounding mental health struggles is one of the primary reasons people don’t seek help. Open the conversation around mental health by establishing an employee assistance program (EAP) to normalize the process of seeking help for mental health disorders. Take it one step further and actively promote your work mental wellness programs so your employees don’t even need to ask.
Talk about the importance of mental health often – lead your team by example and support those who need it. Highlight benefits as part of your weekly team meetings, company-wide newsletters, or even as part of quarterly reviews. For those who may be struggling on your team, the knowledge that the company encourages taking advantage of these confidential resources can reduce the stigma of seeking help.
Prioritize workplace mental wellness
To make meaningful and impactful company culture around employee mental health, companies need to prioritize this aspect of employee well being from the top. Make mental health training mandatory for anyone in a leadership position, even if they only have one direct report. Providing training on this kind of awareness can help managers identify and recognize signs of emotional distress, burnout, or substance abuse.
Put employee well-being first by centering your policies around flexibility and understanding. Work with your employees to build flexibility into their schedules to create a work/life balance that works for you both, whether that be a hybrid working schedule, dedicated work from home days, or adjusted start and end times. Everyone’s situation is different, and allowing some freedom around working hours will boost employee satisfaction and productivity. And don’t forget about true time off–Having mandatory minimum periods of paid time off is a great way to encourage your workers to rest, relax, and recharge.
Employee mental health benefit ideas
Instead of talking about the importance of employee mental health, demonstrate that your business cares with mental-positive policies. There are countless ways to do this, from setting up a meditation room and providing mindfulness training to planning events and giving employee appreciation gifts. Create an environment that prioritizes mental health by including mental health coverage in your employee healthcare plans and offering stress management programs.
Above all, take the time to ask your employees what they need, and how they need it. Set up yearly, anonymous surveys that allow employees to express their thoughts in a secure and confidential way and then act on the data. Every work place will have different needs, but every employee deserves the chance to advocate for themselves when it comes to mental health.
Having an employee well-being-focused workplace is non-negotiable for the new era of work. As mental health for employees enters a new age of crisis, employers are encouraged to prevent and treat common disorders. It is essential for the good of the workforce and businesses for employee retention, satisfaction, and productivity.