Happy business people having fun and chatting at workplace office health initiatives

The average person spends about 35 hours per week at work. This is nearly a third of their week. Given the amount of time we spend in the workplace, shouldn’t we ensure that employees work in a healthy environment that prioritises their mental health?

As psychological wellbeing becomes part of our social dialogue, more and more organisations are looking to implement practices that reduce stress associated with work and increase employee satisfaction and wellbeing. This article will present a short overview on how mental health initiatives can improve workplace wellbeing and what ideas you can use to boost employee morale.

Why is employee mental health important?

Mental health is a state of wellbeing that allows someone to cope with normal challenges and contribute to their society in a productive and meaningful way. When someone’s mental and physical health are working harmoniously, the individual is able to enjoy a fulfilling personal life and achieve their goals in a stable manner.

Good mental health, however, does not stop at someone’s private life. It spills over into their professional life, job, and even goes further to impact the results of the team they are part of. A team made of happy, fulfilled employees is more productive, creative, resilient, able to face unexpected stressors and more capable to overcome difficult situations.

In the light of the most recent global events, mental health has become more important than ever. We have reached a time where companies simply cannot afford to work with depressed, anxious, or stressed out employees. We all have too much to adjust to, and it is crucial that we work in environments that support us to progress at a sustainable pace.

The benefits of supporting mental health in the workplace

In the UK, 30-40% of employee sickness is caused by a form of mental illness. As more and more businesses have started implementing mental health initiatives in the workplace, the first data has already begun to appear. Supporting employee mental health leads to decreased absenteeism rates and increases productivity by 12%.

Besides, creating a supportive work environment where employees can thrive reduces staff turnover rates and reduced costs associated with hiring and training new personnel. Implementing any form of mental health support is not an extra cost for companies – it is an investment that greatly pays off in the long run.

However, the biggest reward from supporting mental health at work comes from having a team of happy, resilient, and balanced employees. In turn, they bring more exciting results such as:

  • Increased employee retention and loyalty
  • Improved productivity and motivation
  • Benefits that will attract an even more high-quality workforce in the company

6 workplace mental health initiatives to implement

If you want to find out some workplace mental health initiatives examples, we have prepared some useful information for you. We have compiled a list of social, health, professional, and work-life balance initiatives that any company can adopt to boost their workplace mental health.

Mental health training for managers

Managers are the first ones who deal with problems arising from poor workplace mental health, such as conflicts, absenteeism, or low performance. However, sometimes they might lack the confidence themselves to deal with such complex problems. It is unrealistic to expect managers to be highly professional when dealing with problems caused by mental illness.

For this reason, it is crucial for organizations to invest resources into helping managers tackle mental health challenges in the workplace. There is no need to deliver a full psychology course – sometimes, even Mental health first aid can help people understand and respond to someone who might deal with an underlying mental health problem. Once managers learn to respond to such challenges more appropriately, they will start building a culture in which people are more sensitive towards mental health needs.

Flexible working opportunities

Allowing employees to work from home can improve their work-life balance, decrease stress levels, and enhance productivity. People feel more in control of their environment when they have the opportunity to choose between commuting to their job or turning their living rooms into an office. Besides, employees feel trusted and appreciated when their employer knows they can deliver the same results when working by themselves.

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Physical activity programmes

It’s no longer a secret that the mind and body work together as a whole. Physical exercise has been by countless research studies to play a key role in mental wellbeing. It reduces stress, relieves anxiety, and boost overwell wellness through the release of endorphins and serotonin.

There should be no reason why physical activity should not be encouraged in the workplace. Companies should ensure that employees are offered initiatives that motivates them to engage in regular physical activity as part of their mental health support. This can be done in the form of events, raising money for charities, or team activities.

Raising mental health awareness in the workplace

No initiative can work with adequate informational materials and resources that raise the awareness of certain issues. When it comes to mental health, many people might still perceive this topic as a taboo issue, which can prevent open conversation about it. Lack of dialogue on mental health issues can further reinforce existing stigma and even prevent employees from seeking the right support.

To counteract this problem, companies can provide materials and messages about mental health, suicide, trauma, suicide prevention, mental illness diagnosis, and other important topics. This can be achieved in the form of brochures, spreadsheets, emails, fact checks, or training workshops. When mental health becomes a normal topic of conversation that everyone is familiar with, employees will feel less ashamed about sharing personal struggles or responding to someone dealing with mental health issues.

Offering mental health support and screening

Employee therapy support should no longer be seen as an optional tool in the workplace, but rather as a compulsory measure that prevents sickness and absenteeism. Companies can get in touch with mental health providers that provide online therapy and mental health support.

Mental health support can offer tools and resources that can maintain workplace wellbeing, such as screening questionnaires for mental illnesses, self-help tools, therapy sessions, and overall wellness support.

It is crucial for employees to know that there is someone they can talk to when they feel overwhelmed. Digital mental health providers such as SupportRoom offer flexible support that does not need to be booked or scheduled in advance, which is really important for someone who deals with a mental health problem that can arise anytime.

Setting up an employee recognition programme

Everyone wants to feel that their efforts are appreciated. Hearing ‘you have done a great job’ can even make someone’s day. Despite this, many workplaces still focus on negative aspects and only highlight situations where people fail to meet expectations. Creating a workplace culture where positive feedback is overlooked and only negative criticism is expressed can make people associate work with stress.

For this reason, implementing an employee recognition programme can help companies make a habit of recognising efforts and accomplishments of the workforce. This will result in employees feeling more rewarded and motivated to keep up the great work.

Some ways in which organisations can implement recognition are:

  • Offering promotions and new titles
  • One-on-one thank you meetings
  • Offering employees rewards, bonuses, raises, and gifts
  • Sending congratulatory emails
  • An employee of the month programme

How can you improve mental health at work?

Are you interested in improving workplace wellbeing? SupportRoom offers flexible mental health support for employees in the form of online therapy, self-help tools, and wellbeing monitoring. Besides, it provides leaders with the opportunity to track what’s happening in the workplace and see where employees’ main stressors come from. This way, you can implement changes and mental health initiatives knowing exactly what’s going on behind the scenes.

You can find out more employee information about SupportRoom here.

Do you want to find out how we can bring mental support to your organization? Book a call and let’s get to know each other.

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