Over the past year, the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted a bigger need than ever before for employers to be supportive of their employees’ mental health in the workplace. With people around the world dealing with high anxiety levels, risk to health, uncertain situations and the need to quickly adjust to working from home, it’s no surprise that mental health conditions like generalized anxiety disorder and depression have risen as a result. As an employer, you can show your employees that you value them by taking their mental health seriously and offering support wherever it’s needed. Some of the main things that employers can do to help include:
Offer Mental Health Days
Most employers wouldn’t bat an eye if an employee called in sick with COVID-19, but how many employers would be as understanding if an employee asked for a day off to help their mental health and wellbeing? However, studies show that mental health days have a positive impact on employees, with companies that offer them freely typically enjoying better productivity levels, a better workplace morale, and increased employee loyalty. The truth is that asking somebody to continue working when they are feeling mentally drained isn’t going to get your business the results that you want. Being generous with mental health days shows your employees that you care, and can be a win-win situation for everybody.
Offer Flexible Working Options
The COVID-19 pandemic has led many businesses to realize that flexible working options is something that they could actually offer in the future, even when it’s no longer medically necessary for people to stay at home. And, studies have found that flexible working options – even working from home for just a couple of days per week – can have a positive impact on employee mental health and reduce stress levels. By being able to choose to work from home when it’s more convenient to them, employees can benefit from avoiding commutes, spending more time with their family, fitting around family schedules and saving money – all of which can be hugely beneficial to mental health and wellbeing in the long run.
Reduce the Stigma and Start a Conversation
While the good news is that we are all talking about mental health more and more often these days, the truth of the matter is that it is still highly stigmatized around the world – especially at work. Many people simply don’t understand mental health as much as they understand physical health, however, the two are very closely connected and will impact one another. As an employer, one of the best mental health practices in the workplace that you can implement is starting a conversation about mental health and working to reduce the stigma. From regular mindfulness meetings to offering therapy as a workplace benefit to those who want it, employers are in a key position to help others understand mental health better and benefit from accessing mental health services.
The events of the past year have highlighted mental health at work even more than ever. As an employer, what could you do to help your employees with their mental wellbeing?