Mental health is crucial for everyone, including your employees. Workers spend the majority of their week at the office and the state of their mental health impacts not only their work but their livelihoods. More companies are recognizing the importance of understanding how managers can support staff well-being.
You should support your employees’ well-being not just because it can boost morale and increase productivity, but because it can improve their lives. Teaching leaders how to support employee mental health can create a better work environment for everyone. Here’s how you can support mental health in the workplace.
1. Provide a Flexible Schedule
More and more employers are offering flexible work schedules and it’s easy to see why. Allowing a flexible schedule provides a greater work-life balance, giving them less anxiety, more family time and more productivity. A flexible work schedule could include only working certain days of the week, such as Monday, Wednesday and Friday, providing a window of time for workers to choose their hours.
Another way to allow flexibility is to let workers extend a day’s work schedule for another. If their child has a recital on Thursday evening, they can add the hours they’ll miss onto their Wednesday or Friday schedule. This keeps them from taking time off or sacrificing pay, calming their nerves and letting them attend those crucial events.
Flexible schedules do not work for every industry, but any time you give employees freedom within their workspace, it can reduce anxiety and increase productivity. Offering flexibility when possible can create a happier and healthier workspace.
Encourage a culture where staff members are willing to swap projects and hours with each other so everyone can have the time to take care of their commitments. When workers take the initiative, there’s less stress over scheduling and it can create better relations among teams.
2. Offer Mental Health Days
Another way to support mental health in the office is to allow workers to take mental health days. Separate from sick or vacation days, mental health days provide employees with self-care opportunities, whether taking a day to sleep in, attending mental health appointments, getting a haircut or visiting loved ones. Allowing these opportunities lets them care for their well-being, so they can achieve better focus in the workplace.
Even though they differ from a sick or vacation day, workers should never have to explain why they choose to take a mental health day. Many things can contribute to someone’s mental health and well-being. Employees will feel better at work and home when they have the opportunity to stay well, knowing their employer has their back in living life to the fullest.
By providing mental health days, you show your employees you value their mental health and want them to take care of themselves. Encourage your staff to take mental health days when needed. If you only mention the opportunity when hiring them, an employee may hesitate to take one of the days. Openly talking about them and encouraging workers to use them can help create a more positive work environment.
3. Providing the Little Things for Mental Well-Being
One of the most important ways you can encourage excellent mental health within your workspace is to provide wellness materials for your workers to use throughout the workday. Certain items can help your employees maintain mental health throughout a stressful work day.
Ensure you give your staff enough opportunities for breaks throughout the day. You may even allow employees to choose their break times, so long as you have sufficient coverage.
You can also create a welcoming office environment by providing ergonomic equipment, such as the right desk chairs and adjustable-height desks. You can also give them fidget toys and other stress-relieving materials they can use to help them focus better.
The room’s colour can also make a difference in how your employees feel. Light blues and greens can encourage productivity while keeping a calm atmosphere. In addition, using a biophilic design not only brightens your office but can also improve workers’ mental health. Incorporating plants inside your office can help you purify the air and help workers feel more connected with nature.
Large windows also help with mental health. Natural light can improve vitamin D levels, which can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. The views can also help your employees make the connection to nature that closed-in walls prevent.
These features can help avoid employee burnout, which can lead to a loss of morale and quitting. By caring for your staff’s well-being through the little things, you can create a better work environment that can encourage happiness and productivity.
4. Choose Plans with Mental Health Coverage
Many companies offer their employees medical, dental and vision insurance, but they need to provide coverage for mental health care too, such as therapy and medication. Your employees’ mental health is just as important as their physical health and the proper care can be vital to their health and well-being. If you do not offer mental health coverage, there’s a strong chance your workers will have to pay out of pocket for those services.
Cost is one of the top things keeping people from seeking mental health care. Not providing coverage could lead to unwell employees, which can impact the entire workplace. Consult with your insurance provider about plan options that provide mental health care coverage. By prioritizing mental health the same way as physical health, you can help your staff feel their best at work and home.
This coverage also provides opportunities for mental health education through your insurance provider and other health care professionals. Work with health professionals to provide information about different mental health symptoms and disorders they can treat through their insurance, as well as other opportunities for education and receiving care. You can help your employees get the care they need by providing coverage and information.
Supporting Mental Health in the Workplace
As an employer, it’s essential to support the mental health of your staff. Supporting their mental health is not just the right thing to do — it can also improve morale and productivity levels in your office.
This is a collaborative post supporting our Peace In Peace Out initiative.