3 Ways to Encourage Positive Mental Health at Work

Here’s how you can boost positive mental health at work

Learn some ways to boost your mental health at work 

Is the subject of mental health at work openly discussed in your organization? Or is the topic of mental health still taboo, so it isn’t addressed? The pandemic and its subsequent effect on the workplace has been the source of stress for many professionals and executives in various industries.

Earlier this year, Microsoft published a report that showed 54% of global workers were feeling overworked. The pressure of feeling overworked often leads to burnout and a negative effect on mental health. It is in a company’s best interest to address the mental health of its employees for a variety of reasons including maximizing employee engagement, improving productivity and enhancing culture.

Despite the importance of mental health, a study by Verizon Media and Culture Co-Op found that 93% of managers “agreed that mental health is already having a direct impact on their bottom line, only one-quarter to one-third of global managers felt equipped to handle the mental health needs of their teams.” This highlights the dilemma that many leaders face. They see how conversations about mental health are vital to have in the workplace, but they don’t know how to handle the subject.

In addition, “80% of managers worry about using the wrong language when addressing issues like mental health, race, gender, and other sensitive topics.”  While the concept of mental health and wellness is a large issue that can seem intimidating, here are three ways companies can encourage mental health at work!

How To Increase Mental Health At Work

Survey employees

When was the last time your organization conducted an anonymous survey of all employees about mental health at work? Many companies don’t facilitate surveys regularly and instead rely on management teams to raise issues or employees to bring up challenges directly.

The problem with waiting for employees to actively share that they are struggling with mental health (or any aspect of their performance), is that it rarely happens.  Many professionals feel shame around initiating a conversation about mental health and fear that their manager might judge them negatively. Questions about mental health, stress and burnout can be included in a company’s employee engagement or satisfaction survey.  When these surveys are anonymous, people feel more comfortable with sharing and an organization can get honest feedback. 

Promote mental health days and PTO

How many PTO days do your employees accrue every month? Does your company offer mental health days which employees can take off with pay? If your organization is not offering mental health days off, now is a great time to start! A mental health day is an incentive that many companies provide where employees can take off that don’t pertain to a physical illness. An employee might use that day to just relax, rest or get focused on some aspect of their personal life. If your organization doesn’t offer mental health days, you can promote the use of a PTO days for employees to spend time on their mental health and wellbeing. This lets your teams know that you value them and their mental health at work more than the financial benefit they bring to the company.

Get support from mental health professionals

Organizations can get support from licensed mental health professionals in a variety of ways to help their employees. Some mental health professionals offer group trainings that can be facilitated for teams to approach the topics of mental wellbeing and stress management. These types of group trainings can be very beneficial in encouraging communication and trust among managers and their teams.

Companies can also ensure that they offer mental health resources with their insurance plans. Having the organization’s insurance broker or an in network mental health professional do a brief talk or lunch and learn presentation for staff, is another way to demonstrate that mental health at work is important.

The topic of mental health is unavoidable for companies to consider due to the pandemic and intense levels of burnout employees are feeling. When asked, 8 out of 10 managers shared that they are not comfortable discussing mental health with their team. However, there are things organizations can do to encourage an environment of positive mental health.

Surveying employees anonymously can let leaders know if mental health at work appears to be a challenge for their staff. Actively promoting mental health days and PTO to employees can be beneficial to address wellbeing. Finally, having mental health professionals speak to employees in an organized training or short talk, takes the pressure off managers and allows employees to meet a licensed individual who they could reach out to as needed. How can your organization encourage positive mental health?

Porschia Parker-Griffin is a Certified Coach, Business Consultant, and Founder of Fly High Coaching. (https://www.fly-highcoaching.com) She helps companies cut the costs of turnover and improve the performance of their employees.

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