Home Business Insights & Advice Four ways companies can support employee mental health

Four ways companies can support employee mental health

by John Saunders
25th Jan 22 12:35 pm

When it comes to discussion about employee welfare and benefits, the topic of mental health seldom appears at the top of the list. However, recent developments mainly driven by the pandemic have shown us just how big an impact mental health has on employee performance and retention, and in effect, on the company’s overall situation.

In the last two years, mental health has been cited as the reason for employee resignations, with almost 70% of Millenials and more than 80% of Gen Z leaving their jobs for this reason. Senior employees and executive are not exempt from this as many have also reported having experienced at least one mental health issue at some point in the past months.

While the rising incidents of mental health issues can somewhat be attributed to the pandemic, certain conditions in the workplace have also served to aggravate the symptoms. Some of the more common reasons are emotional exhaustion, stress, burn out, and lack of work-life balance. Others cite communication issues, monotony, and lack of socialisation due to remote working arrangements as the reason for their discomfort.

If left unchecked, factors like these could lead to work-related issues that impact the organisation, such as employee under performance or absenteeism. On the other hand, companies that are known to support mental health wellness among employees have benefited from the boost in morale among the personnel through lower cost of hiring and training, as well as better productivity from experienced personnel. With higher job satisfaction and better employee retention, these companies and their executives also enjoy more trust from their staff and subordinates.

Considering all these advantages, it is not surprising to see many office managers and HR executives looking for ways to support mental health and promote awareness within their companies. Here are some of them :

1. Support creativity

Research has shown that providing employees with a creative outlet improves their confidence, morale, and job satisfaction. Better mental health condition was reported by 60% of employees who were able to pursue creative activities, while almost 50% claimed it helped them relax or gave them a sense of fulfillment. Thus, employers who offer this kind of benefit, such as a gym membership, are often deemed to be more desirable places to work in.

2. Encourage paid time off

On the surface, it may seem disadvantageous for the company to encourage employees to take a day off and still get paid. But employers should consider this as an investment from which they will receive returns once the worker returns to the office. Employees who are able to take time away from work to refresh and recharge will come back with more energy and zest for work, thus increasing his efficiency and productivity.

Having several personnel take a time off is also not as difficult to manage now since there are software that can help supervisors and HR managers in monitoring and managing paid time off. For better accuracy and ease of use, choose the best pto tracking software for your company.

3. Normalise conversation about mental health

Despite the increasing number of personnel affected by mental health issues, conversation around the topic is not as common as it should be. Because of this, supervisors or HR managers only get to realise the problem when it’s already too late and the employee has decided to resign.

Companies should make it easier for employees to discuss their concerns with their immediate supervisors, without fear of judgment or getting penalised. This way, employers would have a chance to resolve issues or find alternatives in order to prevent valuable personnel from leaving.

Team leaders should also reach out to their staff regularly just to see how they are doing mentally and emotionally. With a remote work environment, it is difficult to notice signs of mental health issues, so give employees a chance to open up by initiating the conversation. In some cases, all they really needed was someone to talk to, and a simple check in with them can already solve the problem.

4. Foster flexibility and inclusivity

Rules and protocols are in place to establish order in the workplace. However, what some companies fail to realise is that these rules should also evolve and adapt to the changes in the environment. If not, these will be counter-productive for the business as they can slow down work output and cause employee burnout.

Business leaders should listen to feedback from the staff to see if they find certain processes to be too rigid and restricting. Ask them what tools, processes, or assistance they need in order to be more efficient, help them manage their stress, and avoid burnout. Make sure to get input from personnel at all levels because they have different experiences and perspectives depending on the job they are handling.

Investigate and validate their observations by looking at the concerns encountered by most employees at different levels, then implement changes as necessary. After a certain period of adjustment, verify if the issues have been resolved and the desired results have been achieved.

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