Earlier this month, we discussed the impact that jobs can have on employees, specifically the great influence managers have on their employees. And we were asked this important question: what can we do?
There are several steps leaders can take to foster positive workplace mental health.
Managers shouldn’t force any discussions about mental health, but at the same time, they should make it clear that it’s okay for people to have one. They should take the time to check in on their employees even if it makes them uncomfortable.
It’s important to have an empathetic voice when talking with employees. Managers should open up with their employees about their own experiences with mental health if they’re comfortable doing this, because this kind of vulnerability helps to foster a safe space for employees.
Additionally, managers should allow employees to take time off and should even encourage them to do so. Over 25% of employees take off only one to four days at a time, and 85% don’t use all of their allotted time off. Indeed, managers don’t make use of their time off either. If at all possible, managers and executives should model this behavior so that employees know it’s okay to utilize their time off.
It should go without saying, but managers should treat their employees like people. Managers need to be understanding and communicative with their employees. This approach helps employees’ mental health and reduces work-related stress.
An important investment in employee mental health is manager training. Because, truly, who really knows it all?
Managers need to be trained to recognize and respond to their employees who are experiencing mental health issues. The training should include building interpersonal skills such as open communications and active listening.
Other ways to help manage workplace stress are:
- Assess employee workloads
- Take breaks
- Encourage healthy diets and exercise
- Offer mental health services, including an employee assistance plan (EAP)
One practical way to foster a healthy workplace is to take note of changes in employee demeanors and make workload adjustments as necessary.
Emphasize the importance of taking breaks to your employees. Breaks allow the brain to rest and reorganize itself.
Healthy diets are good not only for physical health but also mental health. When the workplace supplies meals to employees, try to ensure they’re healthy and accommodate all employee eating restrictions.
Encourage employees to exercise when possible. Last, make sure employees are aware of employee assistance programs or mental health professionals if they’re provided.
There are many steps that can be taken to support employee mental health. Often, the scope of your efforts can depend on the size of your company. However, regardless of size, all companies are capable of fostering good mental health for their employees through making a genuine effort.
At The Coppola Firm, we’re a small business, so we know how important it is to prioritize our employees all-around health. If you have any questions on how to create and implement policies that enhance the well-being of your team, reach out to us at 716.839.9700 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.