7 Ways to Take Better Care of your Employees’ Mental Health

Caring for employees and ensuring their wellbeing isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also a smart strategic investment. Evidence from across the world shows that employees who are healthy and happy are more engaged, productive, and motivated, leading to increased efficiency and innovation within the workplace. Additionally, prioritizing the mental health of employees reduces absenteeism, turnover rates, and associated costs, contributing to a more stable and resilient workforce.

Beyond the tangible benefits, employees who are mentally and emotionally healthy help create a more supportive and inclusive environment that helps attract the best talent, setting the stage for long-term success.

Mental health

While it’s easier to take care of your employees’ physical wellbeing with annual health checks, ergonomic workstations, and fitness activities, prioritizing mental health can be challenging. However, there are many ways in which employers can promote better mental health.

7 Ways to Promote Employees’ Mental Health

1. Implement Mental Health Awareness Programs

Employees are just as used to overlooking mental health as the rest of us, so the first step to promoting mental health in employees is to raise awareness. Mental health awareness programs can empower employees to recognize, seek help, and deal with problems that can arise at work.

Such programs can include workshops, training sessions, and seminars that impart knowledge on mental health self-care practices, share stress reduction techniques, and knowledge to reduce stigma while encouraging more open discussions. Such initiatives can significantly improve employee knowledge, attitudes, and help-seeking behaviors

2. Offer Mental Health Benefits

Providing comprehensive mental health benefits is a good long-term investment and this can include a variety of services. Some of the best online therapy platforms don’t cost much and may also be covered by insurance programs, making them a lot more accessible.

If you can’t provide coverage for therapy, you can help employees connect with counseling and psychiatric services through organizations, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Most people are not aware of the resources available and employers can help bridge this gap.

3. Mental Health Screenings

Offer voluntary mental health screenings or assessments to employees as part of routine health check-ups or wellness programs.

Mental health screenings can help identify individuals who may be experiencing symptoms of common mental health conditions such as chronic stress, depression, or anxiety. These employees can be given additional support, allowing you to create more targeted mental health benefits programs.

4. Flexible Work Arrangements

Giving employees greater flexibility and more autonomy can significantly boost mental health, while also improving their performance. This can be achieved with flexible schedules, remote work options, or compressed workweeks to accommodate employees’ personal needs and promote work-life balance.

Flexible work arrangements have been shown to reduce stress levels and improve job satisfaction and productivity, while lack of control over one’s work poses a higher risk of depression, burnout, and absenteeism.

Office worker taking coffee break

5. Encourage Regular Breaks and Vacations

Encourage employees to take regular breaks throughout the workday and to utilize their vacation time. Employees who work longer hours and take fewer breaks have a higher risk of depression and are also more likely to engage in unhealthy coping behaviors such as heavy alcohol consumption.

Employers can help by implementing policies that prioritize employee wellbeing, such as flexible scheduling, paid time off, and clear guidelines for requesting and scheduling vacations. Additionally, those in leadership can lead by example by taking breaks and vacations themselves and actively encouraging their teams to do the same.

6. Foster Social Connections

Fostering social connections in the workplace is crucial for promoting employee mental health and wellbeing. Growing evidence suggests that strong social connections at work can reduce feelings of loneliness, stress, and anxiety, while also improving morale and team cohesion.

Businesses can encourage social connections through team-building activities, social events, and opportunities for employees to connect and build supportive relationships with colleagues.

7. Create a Positive Work Environment

Creating a positive work environment is essential for an organization that wishes to promote employee mental health, satisfaction, and productivity. Employers can create a positive work environment by fostering a culture of transparency, trust, and open communication where employees feel comfortable expressing their ideas, concerns, and feedback. This can include regular team meetings, one-on-one check-ins with managers, and anonymous feedback channels to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard and valued.

Recognition and appreciation are also key components of a positive work environment, so make it a point to celebrate employee achievements and offer clear pathways for advancement.