Everybody knows at least a handful of people who have suffered from burnout. And in recent years—especially during the height of the pandemic—more and more people have been feeling more stressed and anxious. And while we may be exiting the pandemic, mental health and wellness are not going away with it.
In fact, it was always there—but the pandemic definitely had a further detrimental effect.
As a manager, knowing how to manage mental health at work is crucial. Not only will it keep your employees happy and productive, but you can prevent costly behaviors such as poor stress management, burnout, staff recruiting and training, and even bullying in the workplace.
It’s important to get it right. This blog is a guide for employers to better manage mental health at work.
Prioritize mental health at work to reduce costly behaviors
Increase education on mental health & start the conversation
Know how to support your workforce
Use Mindletic to train your employees to cope better with stress
There are more workers absent from work because of stress and anxiety than physical injury and illness. And the same can be said about mental health conditions as a whole—work impairment is caused more by mental illness than physical (and often chronic) conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and asthma .
These findings should shock you.
But we have good news: workers are more productive when they perceive workplace health support from their employer.
The importance of mental health in the workplace—more so making it a priority, may reduce the following :
Working while sick
Poor job performance
Stress imposed on team members
Overtime and overstaffing to cover sick absences
Hiring and recruitment costs
You can likely already see the benefits of shifting focus to prioritizing mental health at work.
And better yet, it does not need to be complicated. Keep reading to see what managers can do to better improve workplace mental health.
What can managers do?
As an employer, there are numerous things you can do to create a workplace culture that embraces and talks about mental health.
To begin, you should:
Increase education about mental health
Create an open line of communication
Increase education about mental health
Education is an effective tool for teaching the importance of mental health and wellness at work. Many employees already know what mental health and emotional wellness are, but by providing expert education, you open the door to many possible conversations.
Often, employees feel scared to tell their manager about a mental health problem they are currently facing.
But when you provide education on the topic, you send a message to your employees that it’s okay to ask for help, and that they won’t be punished for doing so.
Managers who use Mindletic get access to a science-backed mental training program for their employees. All employees also get premium access to a host of science-backed mental health tools to train their minds, improve mental health education and awareness, and better manage their emotional wellness.
With in-app Mindletic training, employees boost resilience; this teaches them how to better deal with stress (and other emotions) to push through those hard times. Because let’s face it—we all go through rough patches every now and then, but knowing how to navigate through those times is absolutely key.
In your workplace, that means less burnout and people quitting their jobs, increased productivity, and less money spent on hiring and recruitment.
Create an open line of communication
Employers need to be clear and consistent with their messaging—it’s okay to ask for support, and you will not be discriminated against or treated any differently for speaking up about asking for a little help.
So as well as education, managers should create an open line of communication. But what’s essential here is communicating that those who ask for help will in no way damage their career.
The way you start this communication looks different for all organizations. For you, it could mean sharing a personal story, physically leaving the door open for drop-in sessions, or arranging quarterly check-ins with employees in a no-judgment zone.
Mindletic provides training for teams that helps open up this communication. We focus on removing the stigma surrounding mental health, creating psychological safety, and improving communication and productivity. Oh, and we also save you, managers, time.
In the last few years, we’ve seen a massive shift in how we talk about mental health and who we talk about it to.
Perhaps before the pandemic, people would be more reluctant to talk about what they were struggling with. And the conversation of “mental health at work” would very rarely, if ever, make it onto any meeting agenda.
But talking about mental health at work is not a trend—it’s a necessity.
According to the World Health Organization, depression and anxiety cost the global economy US$1 trillion each year, largely from reduced productivity. Talking about mental health at work is the first step in providing emotional and physical support to your employees.
And here’s the best part: employees want to talk about mental health and wellness at work.
According to a 2019 piece of research that assessed 1,000 employees, results showed that 57% of employees believe the answer to mental health and wellness in the office is talking about it.
So as an employer, how do you start the conversation?
Be more open-minded about mental health
Create a line of communication to talk about mental health at work
Increase education around mental health and wellness
Focus on mitigating the stigma about speaking about mental health
Everybody has good days and bad days, and we all exist day-to-day on a perceived mental health scale.
Data from a mix of studies show that anywhere from 30% to 50% of adults in the U.S. experience a mental illness at some point in their lives . And that includes your existing employees—they’re not robots; they’re humans with real emotions. Crazy, right?!
So as an employer, you need to have the right support in place. And yes, even if no workers show any signs of mental illness or vulnerability.
Further, a non-invasive screening tool (such as regular check-ins) can help detect, diagnose, and provide the necessary support to employees to prevent a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety from going full-blown.
Below you’ll find some practical tips to help you better manage employees who might be struggling with mental health issues:
Provide workplace adjustments if needed (flexible hours, change of workspace, leave agreements)
Work together to find a solution (ask what would help them)
Continue to provide workplace mental health education
Keep communication open (don’t let employees feel like you didn’t listen to their concerns)
Finch, R.A. and Phillips, K., 2005. An employer’s guide to behavioral health services. Center for Prevention and Health Services. Washington, DC: National Business Group on Health.
Goetzel, R.Z., Roemer, E.C., Holingue, C., Fallin, M.D., McCleary, K., Eaton, W., Agnew, J., Azocar, F., Ballard, D., Bartlett, J. and Braga, M., 2018. Mental health in the workplace: A call to action proceedings from the mental health in the workplace: Public health summit. Journal of occupational and environmental medicine, 60(4), p.322.
Want to learn more about how to foster your employees’ mental health and help them overcome boundaries? Reach out to our team and get a free consultation now.