Why Should Mental Health Matter in Your Workplace?
Investing in the mental health of your people will have a positive impact on your bottom line and overall business. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that around 80 percent of adults with symptoms of depression have some difficulty with social activities at home and at the workplace.
Sadly, these symptoms may remain at undetected levels for months or even years. Mental illnesses are unlike physical illnesses in that they are more difficult to identify.
Many employees agree that you, as the employer, should be concerned and primarily responsible for their mental health and well-being. Statistics from Peldon Rose puts the figure at almost three-quarters of the entire workforce. Equality, sustainability, and diversity are more secondary issues for these people.
How Can You Help Your Employees Improve Their Mental Health?
There’s a huge challenge in dealing with mental health issues after the onset of symptoms. A preventive approach is more effective over the long haul.
Employers and HR experts should leverage their powerful position to improve attitudes and provide viable support systems.
There are a few tangible ways to ensure an uptick in the mental health of your employees.
1. Accelerate Your Awareness Programmes
Educate your employees! Organizations such as Mental Health America, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Depression and American Psychiatric Association, and the Bipolar Support Alliance make essential resources and education available for individuals and corporate environments.
Some companies even develop custom initiatives and programs, encouraging employees to keep an eye on co-workers who might be suffering from emotional distress. Let them know the appropriate questions to ask when they suspect someone might be struggling in the workplace. Mental wellness programs that support individuals in corporate environments are worth looking into.
2. Train Your Managers
How about making it possible for your managers to attend significant training to support suffering staff. It’ll promote the well-being of all staff.
There’s no single solution that’ll support everyone in your work environment equally. It’s necessary to identify the systematic differences in how individuals act, think, and feel.
Your managers and their outcomes will go from good to great when they learn to understand the uniqueness of each individual and manage them accordingly. Some employees simply need more support and are not as resilient as the rest of the pack. But if you need them, wouldn’t you invest in their mental health?
3. Encourage Work-Life Balance
Once you begin to appreciate that work-life balance is essential to a healthy work environment, you’ll implement flexible work options. Tech companies are increasingly adopting a remote work culture, and so far, there are more positives than downsides in terms of productivity.
With work-life balance, you’ll have less stress and burnout reported in your workplace. Flexible hours ensure that workers avoid traffic, have greater control, attend medical appointments, and approach work-life activities with increased optimism. These are vital elements in coping with mental illness.
Long commutes promote depression symptoms, financial worry, and complications from work-related stress.
4. Craft Viable Mental Health Policies That Suit Your Company
Appropriate mental health policies are essential to your company. Maintain zero tolerance for discrimination, bullying, or harassment due to depression.
It’s a peculiar feature for companies to employ individuals from diverse backgrounds in terms of race, nationality, finances, education, and other variables. But diversity isn’t exactly inclusiveness. Any of these elements has immense power to undermine mental health.
Mental stress policies within the construction industry are still sketchy, but it’s urgent to realize that work-related ill health in construction is worse than it seems. UK Government statistics put the economic contribution of the sector’s 2.4 million employees at £117 billion. It’s in stark contrast to the higher suicide rate of the sector among low-skilled male laborers, which is higher than the male national average.
Construction provides the perfect milieu for systemic stress, anxiety, and depression. That is the reason why your company needs an effective mental health policy to combat the long hours and demanding workloads.
5. Make Consistent References to Employee Assistance Programs
Your company should provide an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) benefit so your employees can access several therapy sessions without paying. You can go one step further by ensuring that employees use these services.
Have a system to remind them to use the EAP and their benefits. When employees use EAPs more, they can deal with issues that negatively impact their performance more effectively.
EAP benefits can apply regardless of your industry. There is some degree of mental stress in every aspect of the workplace, and your company should deal with it head-on.
6. Be Sure You Know What Your Employees Need
This last point is of critical importance. Touch base with staff across the organization to determine the prevalent thinking and actions concerning mental health. Is it possible to make any changes? Are you already doing anything correctly?
Certain risk factors can hurt all staffers and lead to mental ill-health. Unrealistic deadlines and unclear role definitions and parameters for success are two key elements of the recipe.
Inadequate support systems, tangible lack of recognition, and a toxic culture of bullying and discrimination are other common contributing factors.
Even when employees aren’t speaking out, it’s best to be proactive about their mental health and not wait until there’s a diagnosis. Both employers and employees benefit from a workplace that prioritizes mental health.
About the Author:
Aki Merced is the Content Manager at Handle.com, where they build software that helps contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers with late payments. Handle.com also provides funding for construction businesses in the form of invoice factoring, material supply trade credit, and mechanics lien purchasing.