There’s no question that mental health and wellbeing have taken quite a hit over the last few years. With one concerning global event after another, employees’ mental health has fallen. But, this does present an opportunity for employers to make mental health and wellbeing programs more widely available to their employees.
While a significant part of the responsibility generally falls on the employer, it’s still crucial to provide a safe and judgemental-free space for employees to also raise their voices and request the health and wellbeing programs that they require.
But before we delve deeper into the mental health and wellbeing issues that are plaguing employees, let’s look a little closer at why mental wellbeing is an important topic that needs to be part of the wider organisational agenda.
The days when mental wellbeing was considered a taboo topic are gone. Studies suggest that 12.7% of all sick days in the UK can be attributed to mental health problems.
Today, promoting positive mental health is important especially when it comes to helping employees cope with challenges and setbacks—both at work and at home.
Positive mental health at work can help employees remain agile, especially during times of change. It allows employees to flourish in their roles, boost resilience, and manage stress. Ultimately, the right support helps employees reach their full potential.
Creating a safe space for employees is perhaps the most important step. Providing the freedom and safety to communicate openly without discrimination is vital. If this key component is missing, then you risk losing out on invaluable information that could help you retain talented employees.
Employee mental health can have detrimental consequences if the workplace doesn’t have the necessary support systems in place.
Managers need to ensure that employees have adequate resources to overcome obstacles without having to feel as though they’re unmotivated or overwhelmed. Employees can often feel this way if they’re tasked with completing work that they’re unable to figure out. Employers need to demonstrate how to complete tasks and stay accessible if employees have questions.
Employees feel that there’s a constant need for them to perform at their highest at all times. This can often be the root cause of mental health and wellbeing issues as unreasonable amounts of pressure are put on their shoulders. This leads to workload increases, added stress, long work hours, and even emotional exhaustion.
Communications that are empathetic and engaging are the hallmark of a great manager-employee relationship. When there’s a lack of communication then it can create pressure on relationships, increase poor mental health, and stress at work.
Health and wellbeing at work isn’t a new topic and it’s all about creating proactive opportunities to help employees get a better understanding of their mental health and give them the tools they need to flourish.
As an employer, the most crucial step that you can take is to provide resources for those who need the support and also to employees who may be showing signs of struggle. Making these services available—especially during difficult times—can help employees cope better with their situations, manage stress, and build up resilience to any future issues that may arise.
By strengthening their overall mental resilience they can gradually become happier and more productive members of your team.
As an employee, it’s also important to speak up and encourage employers to provide you with the support systems you need to ensure that you’re capable of carrying out your role in a healthy and productive way.
Employees should also be thorough about the policies that are in place for targeting their mental health and wellbeing. For instance, if your company allows mental health days off then being familiar with how they can be utilised could be a way for you to get the support you need.
Mental health and wellbeing is something that plagues everyone at one point or another. While it may have been a topic that has never been fully discussed or addressed in the corporate world, today, however, this has changed.
More and more employers understand that mental health and wellbeing are a key part of the employee experience and that many employees are actively searching for workplaces that provide a more holistic solution rather than a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ approach.
Having access to a host of resources can give employees the confidence they need to address these issues before they snowball into something more serious and employers are seeing the opportunity to ensure that they take a more proactive approach to employee mental wellbeing.
Reach out to our team and learn more about how we can help you support your workplace.