An increasing number of employers are beginning to understand the importance of their employees’ mental health, and how it can affect their ability to produce, communicate, and feel safe in the workplace.
As per the Center for Prevention and Health, substance abuse and mental health issues have an economic annual cost of between $79 million and $105 million. Reduced productivity, higher absenteeism, and greater healthcare costs are examples of how employee mental health issues can prove costly for companies.
For this reason, helping employees improve and maintain their mental health is one of the foremost obligations of any business person – and in this blog, Tommy Shek lists down a few ways to fulfill it.
Ways to Create Mentally-Healthier Workplaces:
Promoting a Work/Life Balance:
Acknowledging employees who spend their days and nights working, or work from home even after leaving the office, is just going to harm your business in the long-run. A lack of work/life balance will eventually lead to lower productivity and lead to employee burnout.
Tommy Shek advises employers to encourage employees to benefit from paid vacations, and to not expect around-the-clock availability. People who take time out for their hobbies, passions, and loved-ones are likely to do well for your company over the long term.
Offering Free Screening:
A lot of mental health issues go untreated because sufferers often fail to identify the symptoms and signs. They think that their problems are just ‘stress-related’ and if they ignore them long enough, they will simply disappear on their own.
You could offer free mental-health screening tools that help employees determine if they are suffering (or are at risk of suffering) from mental health problems. Employees who know they are at risk of developing anxiety, depression, or other mental issues, are likely to seek treatment.
Encouraging Discussions Related to Mental Health:
Tommy Shek feels that employees should not shy away from participating in – and even initiating – discussions and conversations about mental health. As an employer, you should establish a culture in which employees are not forced to conceal or ignore their mental health problems.
Conduct training sessions for managers and supervisors about the signs and indications of mental health, and how to respond if a subordinate is displaying those signs. If an employee feels that their supervisor cares about their mental health and will be supportive in case of any problems, they are likely to open up about their struggles.
Simple habits like eating healthy, staying physically active, and indulging in leisurely activities, can go a long way in improving mental health and developing mental resilience.
Hence, Tommy Shek advises all employers to emphasize on the importance of good habits and routines. You could, for example, offer free or discounted gym memberships, or provide incentives to employees who take part in wellness programs.
Even though we have made a lot of strides in the recent past, we still have some way to go before we eliminate the taboo around mental health and give it the importance that it deserves. As a business owner, you can play your part in achieving this objective by encouraging psychological wellness within your workplace.