An average person will spend 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime. That’s almost one-third of their life spent working. So much work is bound to take a toll on our physical, emotional and mental health.
Conversations about mental health are getting louder owing to the awareness brought to the fore by social media in our generation who are actively fighting the taboo that surrounds the debate about these topics. Businesses are feeling the tremors of the changes in mental health perspectives as well.
According to WHO, the global economy suffers a loss of $1 trillion annually due to productivity inefficiencies. This figure alone is a testament to the fact that employees’ subpar focus, owing to the stressors in their lives, could lead to massive losses.
Moreover, there is a 4X return on every single dollar spent on the treatment of mental issues among the employees in the form of improved health and productivity.
Supporting employees’ mental health can benefit both the business and employees.
That is why we are here with some practical steps that businesses should take to improve the mental health of their employees.
- Invest In the Growth of Your Employees
Stagnation is detrimental to your career mobility. In order to grow, you have to acquire new skills, constantly expand your knowledge, and become an overall versatile candidate.
To avoid getting stagnated in the role, you might have to enroll in a degree program. But when you are working, acquiring a degree might not be that easy. That’s why online options are best for working employees.
Make yourself a viable candidate for the manager position you’ve had your eyes set on for quite a while now by getting an Online General MBA Program that will show you the ropes of what it takes to be a successful manager.
Good managers don’t overburden their employees, and in fact, they are quite accommodating to their preferences and needs. Consider improving the mental health of the employees working under you.
- Ask Your Employees What They Want
An open and honest communication culture can do wonders for an individual’s mental wellbeing. Many businesses make the mistake of employing every mental health practice under the sky while completely ignoring the basic needs of their employees.
Being heard and validated can do wonders for a person’s mental health. One way to encourage a culture of openness is to conduct monthly check-ins with your employees.
Ask the following questions during these sessions:
- How can you be more productive?
- Are there any workplace issues you face regularly?
- Is your work affecting your mental health in any way?
- What are some changes that, in your opinion, can make the workplace a happier place for the employees?
- Do you know of any colleagues struggling with work-related mental health issues?
- Include Mental Healthcare in Your Medical Coverage
Too many companies are all talk and no show when it comes to mental healthcare. Put your money where your mouth is by covering for your employees’ mental-health treatment.
Mental health issues can be as grave as other bodily ailments. They also require our time, effort, care, and money just like any other illness. Covering employees’ mental-health treatments will make them respect the organization that much more.
- Monetary Benefits of Supporting Employees’ Mental Health
Supporting employees’ mental health is not only the right thing to do but could also prove to be profitable. Everything in business centers on that pivotal question of profits. Supporting mental health is also a way to increase productivity and retention levels, thereby leading to higher returns on investment.
Following are some major benefits of supporting your employees’ mental health:
- Increased Productivity: Employees whose workplaces address mental wellbeing are said to be 12% more productive. Increased productivity directly correlates to greater profits.
- Increased Retention: Staff retention is a huge concern for any business. 84% of employees believe that a mentally supportive workplace is less likely to experience their employees leaving them.
- Be Aware of Work-Related Triggers
Our routines, plans, vacations, and almost every other aspect of our lives are planned around work life. With our work consuming so much of our time, it’s bound to be a huge source of many of the triggers.
A business invested in their employees’ mental health should keep a keen eye on the most common workplace triggers and try to address them in a healthy manner.
Following are the most common triggers employees usually experience:
- After-Hour Work Calls: After-hours work calls are one of the most common nuisances faced by employees worldwide. With many countries starting to make it an illegal practice, it’s high time that employers understand the concept of personal time.
- Toxic Workplace: From rude colleagues to sexual harassment, a toxic workplace carries different meanings for different people. Whatever the cause may be, the root of any such toxicity must be addressed and dealt with sternly.
- Pushing Them Toward Burnout: Reward your employees for excelling and being productive, not for burnout. Set well-defined limits that discourage employees from working beyond their physical and mental limits.
- Excessive Pressure: Contrary to popular belief, pressure is not a great productivity enhancer. Set reasonable deadlines to reduce stress on your employees.
- Train Managers to Spot Signs of Mental Exhaustion
Mental exhaustion is as real as physical exhaustion. Just as there are signs of a physical burnout, mental exhaustion also manifests in many forms. The managerial staff should be trained to recognize the signs of mental exhaustion and take off some of the pressure that the employee is facing.
Signs of mental distress can include:
- Lack of productivity
- Reduced morale
- An abrupt shift in behavior
- Reduced communication
Teach the managers to have open communication with employees who are showing signs of mental exhaustion and offer practical steps to support them. These steps could include paid mental-health leaves, flexible work hours, or a meeting with the HR department to explore other options.
- Reward Good Work
Positive reinforcements can make a huge difference in an employee’s life. A workplace that appreciates the efforts of its staff is bound to have a higher percentage of satisfied employees. Happy employees are a valuable asset, one that can pay more down the line than could be imagined in the present.
Appropriate rewarding of productive and engaging work done by an employee encourages them to outperform and excel at their work.
This also leads to the fostering of healthy competition among the employees. However, don’t make rewards so unachievable that the employees have to overreach and overstretch themselves in order to reach them.
An even better idea is to reward employees on their soft skills apart from productivity at work. Take notice of their communication skills, leadership skills, and the overall excellent attitude that employees might display. Personal validation in a professional environment can do wonders for an employee’s self-esteem.
Mental health is as important as physical health and it should be treated accordingly. It’s high time to include the above-stated measures in your business practice as well. Taking mental health measures for the sake of your employees is going to build trust between you and the employees, and besides, it has a high return on investment because the employees will recognize what you are doing for them and they’ll reciprocate in helping you meet your business KPIs.