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.