Over the last couple of years, we’ve witnessed a positive shift in how mental health is discussed in the workplace. As employees have become more vocal about their needs, many companies have listened—finding new ways to support mental health and make the topic feel less taboo. Still today, efforts around mental health in the workplace must remain a priority.
As employees face a world full of change, the need for mental health support in the workplace will only continue to grow. By encouraging staff to take care of their mental wellbeing, employees will feel more supported and connected to their work. This can lead to additional benefits, including increased productivity, reduced turnover, and lower healthcare costs.
By helping employees improve their mental health, you can make all the difference in the overall well-being of your individual employees and your entire workforce. Here are four ways to better support mental health in the workplace.
Promote mental health awareness
The first step to creating a work environment that supports mental health is promoting awareness and reducing the stigmas associated with it. Provide resources that help staff learn about mental health, and give information on how to seek help if they need it. The more open you are about mental health, the more comfortable employees will be talking about it or seeking help. Here are some ways to promote awareness around mental health in the workplace:
- Facilitate social support for colleagues
- Build workshops on stress management techniques and mindfulness
- Launch a mental health communication campaign
- Host info sessions on how to utilize the company’s mental health benefits
- Promote your employee assistance program (EAP) and other wellness benefits
Offer flexible scheduling
A work-life balance (or a lack thereof) can impact an employee’s mental health. To help employees better balance their work and personal lives, many companies have embraced flexible scheduling. While this may look different for different companies, here are some flexible scheduling policies you can implement:
- Alternative scheduling
- Compressed work week
- Unlimited PTO
- Remote or hybrid work
Managers are often the gatekeepers of employee well-being. Without their buy-in, many of the resources, support, and policies you are offering will not be effective. Teaching supervisors how to recognize the signs of burnout and mental health issues, as well as how to support employees is an important step in promoting mental health at work. As part of this training, managers should be prepared to have difficult conversations with their reports surrounding mental health. It’s also critical that you encourage them to lead by example—especially when it comes to company policies that promote work-life balance and flexibility.
Modernize your benefits
Review your benefits to ensure they not only support mental health in the workplace, but also prioritize it. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Low (or no) out of pocket costs for mental health services and medications
- An extensive list of in-network providers
- Low-cost or free access to mental health apps
- An employee assistance program (EAP)