Most business owners are aware of their responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment for their employees to work in. They establish safety rules and regulations and keep the premises well-maintained, (which is a great start), however, what often isn’t considered is the mental well-being of their staff.
Most overlook the significance because they believe a person’s mental health is personal and has nothing to do with work. On the contrary, however, the way a person feels thinks, and behaves impacts their productivity in the workplace. An employee who is stressed, depressed, anxious, or suffering from other overwhelming emotions is unable to work efficiently, and this impacts your business.
An effective manager or business owner should take the necessary steps to ensure their employee’s peace of mind is intact in the workplace. Below are some suggestions on how to do this:
Talk About Mental Health
Many people feel unsafe sharing their mental health issues in the workplace. They fear that speaking up could cost them their jobs. You should encourage your employees to speak up when there’s something going on with them mentally. You can do this by openly talking about the importance of mental health as well as the policies that are in place to protect their jobs in the event that something is wrong. You should also educate your staff on the employee assistance program which allows them to receive a few therapy sessions for free. This opens their eyes to how mental illness can impact their lives and creates a comfortable space for them to address their issues.
Start Health Programs
Promoting employee wellness in the workplace can enhance their mental health. When employees know how to take care of their minds and bodies, they are less inclined to suffer from mental illness. These wellness programs do not have to be extensive to be effective. You can have experts come and talk to staff for an hour about things ranging from types of mental illness to healthy eating. Another idea would be to offer discounts for popular diet programs or a nearby gym for employees to stay healthy.
Offer Flexible Scheduling
One of the biggest stressors employees have is finding a work-life balance. Often their schedules for work make it challenging for them to be there for their families or to handle personal matters (like going to a doctor or therapist). You can lighten their load and ease some of the stress by offering flexible scheduling. Whether you allow employees to work varying shifts (9-5, 10-6, 11-7), provide them with resources that allow them to work from home, or offer opportunities for employees to earn comp time that can be used for personal matters like doctor’s appointments, it eases the tension in their personal lives so that they can be more efficient in the workplace.
Handle Employee Concerns
As a means of effectively managing your employees as well as helping to promote mental health in the workplace, managers should find a way to handle vital employee concerns. You should periodically schedule meetings with each employee to find out what their problems and needs may be. After hearing their concerns, make a progressive effort to resolve the matter. For example, if an employee states that their workload has increased, an ideal solution might be to hire new staff, streamline processes, or reevaluate the workloads of all departments and create more of a balance.
Show Your Support
Should an employee come to you and express issues with their mental health it is imperative that you show your support. You can do this by listening to their concerns, recommending them to the employee assistance program, or even by allowing them to work a reduced or flexible schedule while they’re seeking treatment for their mental illness.
As a business owner or manager, it is imperative that you be fully aware of common mental illnesses and the symptoms that follow. If you remember, not all employees are interested in speaking up about their problems out of fear, but if you notice that someone is acting different, not as productive, or displaying other signs of trouble, you can reach out to them and show your support.
Your employee’s mental health should be just as important as their physical health and safety. If your staff is so inundated with their emotions that they cannot work efficiently. Be an effective leader by showing your staff the importance of taking care of their minds as well as their bodies, creating a comfortable work environment, and providing your support with every step of the way.