Did you know that half of the population will have experienced mental illness by the time they’re 40? According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, one in five Canadians will experience some form of mental illness every year.
As an employer, these statistics are very relevant to you. Your employees could be suffering from mental illness without you being aware. Employees who don’t feel well could miss more work or not perform as well when they’re at work. What can you do about this? The answer is, alot. But to start here are five workplace mental health strategies you can implement now to start supporting mental health.
1. Recognize Employee Accomplishments
One of the simplest and more organic ways to try and support positive mental health is to simply recognize your employees. There are many things that can trigger a depressed mood. One factor is a lack of recognition at work, either real or perceived. If employees don’t feel recognized for their work accomplishments, they’re more likely to feel upset, saddened or overworked. These employees may develop mood problems.
To help your employees, make sure everyone feels recognized. Employees like to be recognized in different ways. Some employees might want to be congratulated in a staff meeting when they meet a goal. Others may prefer a formal certificate, an extra day off, or a gift card.
2. Promote Work-Life Balance
Balancing the demands of home and work can be challenging. If employees don’t feel like they can keep these demands balanced, they could start to feel stressed and frustrated. If employees have increased workloads, they could feel like they don’t have enough time to manage their demands at home. The reverse is also true: employees with increased demands at home could feel overwhelmed at work.
A flexible work schedule is an easy way to promote work-life balance. You could let employees have flexible starting and ending times. Some possible changes could be to offer a more flexible schedule, a modified work week or telecommuting, if those options make sense for your business.
3. Manage Employees’ Workloads
Your employees work hard, but it's important as an HR professinal, manager, or business owner to ensure that you track workload balance. A high workload with low control over workflow can contribute to mental heath problems. Stress is different in all people, but can definitely contribute to mental health issues if it is not managed.
Look at the amount of work your employees need to complete and decide if you need to hire extra employees to share the workload. You could also help your employees prioritize their tasks through project management tools. It's also important to note that some tasks need to be done right away, while others can be managed more effectively at a later date.
4. Ensure the Workplace Is Safe
Unsafe workplaces are another risk factor for mental health issues. Of course, you don’t want your workplace to be unsafe, but it’s hard to keep an eye on everything that’s happening in your office. Discrimination, sexual harassment, or other forms of harassment could be happening without any incidents being submitted.
To keep employees healthy, ensure you have internal policies, code of conduct and strategies in place to keep the workplace safe. Tell your employees they can come to you or human resources about any office issues they may be experiencing.
5. Help Employees to Get Treatment
Mental illnesses is very serious, but there are still too many factors that restrict people from wanting to get treatment. Some of that is based on ease of access. Create a safe process that is secure and private for your staff to ensure they feel comfortable seeking out treament is necessary.
One of the ways to do that is to ensure your group insurance plan covers mental health services. This workplace mental health strategy can help employees become healthier and feel better. You could also provide an employee assistance plan (EAP) for your employees to help them find needed resources. These benefits are attractive to employees and can help you power your company’s growth.
By putting these workplace mental health strategies in place, you can help keep your employees healthy, and supported.