Looking after your employees mental health
Tuesday, October 25, 2022
Having a job can be one of the best ways to improve your overall wellbeing. On a surface level, regular employment means you have a reliable source of income which eases financial stresses. It also provides you with a steady routine and structure, which many people find vital when dealing with issues relating to mental health. As well as this, and perhaps most importantly, there’s the social element. Jobs allow us to build friendships and interact with new people, which can alleviate the feelings of loneliness and isolation that depression commonly causes. Having the distraction of going into work every day and being around different people can have a massive contribution to your mental health.
However, for some people, their workplace has a detrimental effect on their health and wellbeing. According to Mind UK, ‘more than one in five’ of us have called in sick to work to avoid workplace stresses, and 30% of staff do not feel able to speak openly with their managers if they were feeling stressed †. As an employer, you need to do all that you can to promote good mental heath practices and a positive work/life balance. It is your responsibility to provide support for employees who are experiencing mental health problems and ensure that your working environment enables staff to be open and honest about their feelings. Have a look at our 6 tips below to learn how to look after your employee’s mental health.
- Treat mental and physical health as equally important
If we were sick, many of us would be encouraged to take the day off work to rest and recover, yet the same thought process is not extended to mental health. Most employees will continue to work, continue to let the stress build, until we are completely burnt out and our physical health becomes effected as well. Encourage your employees to take breaks – some companies have even started employing ‘wellbeing days’ – designated time off for an employee to take care of themselves and recharge.
Regular one to ones and check in’s
Make a point of organising regular one to one meetings with your employees. Check in with how they are finding things, and if there is any support that they need.
Mental health effects all of us in different ways, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ rule to fix it. If an employee has opened up to you, make sure your support is adapted to the individual. Look at ways to reduce the problems that are contributing negatively to their wellbeing. Whether this is stress relating to their workload, relationships with their colleagues, or a personal issue outside of work, make a plan together that works best for them moving forward.
Take the Lead
Employees take notice of how their managers behave. If you want to create an environment where people feel safe to speak about their mental health, take the lead and speak about your own experiences. You can stay professional, whilst also opening up, which will create a more comfortable atmosphere for your staff to be honest with you.
Observe and Trust
If you notice a change in one of your employee’s behaviour and you feel that something isn’t right, trust that instinct. Whether they are exhibiting classic signs of stress, such as being overly irritable or snappy, or their performance levels have dropped recently, take that as a sign that they might need some support.
Know when to look for Outside Support
There may be times when an employee is dealing with an issue that is just outside of your capabilities and control. If this happens, its important to know when to step away and recommend other professional services. Charities and help lines exist for a reason, and will be able to assist with matters that might be too complicated for your organisation.