Since the pandemic began, workplace mental health has become an important topic. According to Axios, “31% of U.S. employers say workforce mental health is having a severe or significant financial impact on the company.” On top of that, we’ve seen a lot of crucial mental health conversations in the news from athletes like Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka.
Now, more than ever, companies need to understand mental health. Employers need to build company cultures that advocate for employee mental health or risk losing stellar workers to companies that value work/life balance and human connection.
Here are five strategies your organization can use to be a better mental health advocate:
1. Offer Mental Healthcare Benefits For Employees
You would be surprised by how few health insurance plans cover mental healthcare (and how few mental health providers take insurance.) Mental health and insurance haven’t found a healthy balance, and so many employees can’t seek the health they need.
Many sites like Talkspace strive to make mental healthcare a bit more accessible for employees. Covering fees around mental healthcare sites like this may give employees a chance to talk with someone outside the company.
2. Do Weekly Check-Ins With Every Employee
Sometimes we forget to check in with our employees with all the hustle and bustle of remote/hybrid life. One-on-ones aren’t just for information about work projects. Take a few minutes to connect with employees about what’s happening in their life. How can you support their mental wellness this week? Maybe it’s taking a piece of a project or helping them delegate a task. Open the lines of communication and let your employees tell you what they need.
3. Encourage Employees To Take Mental Health Days
Sometimes we all need a day or two off work to focus on our mental healthcare. Working when you aren’t in a good mental space can be tricky: you don’t want to let your team down, but you know you will not show up to work as your best self.
In those moments, create a system with your employees. Depending on what job you have, taking a day off last minute might not be possible. Create a plan to support employees. For example, some employers have a pool of employees to call for part-time work to fill-in shifts. Even small businesses can utilize mental health days if they are smart about their business practices.
4. Revisit Production Targets And Goals Often
Are you requesting too much from your team members? Sometimes goals are bigger than they seem on the surface. Your employees might realize that they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. In those situations, managers need to step in and help employees create goals that work.
5. Encourage A Healthy Work/Life Balance
Last, managers need to encourage a healthy work/life balance. Work/life balance usually starts from the top/down. If you are constantly working around the clock, your employees will likely follow your direction. Take breaks, send emails during business hours, and let your employees know that they can do the same. Work is essential, but so is family/friends/relaxation time.
Conclusion: We Can Improve Mental Health In The Workplace
With a few minor tweaks, we can all improve mental health in the workplace. Managers have a unique opportunity to show their team what work/life balance and caring for mental health looks like. Companies have the chance to cover mental health expenses and rework goals/hire more support to meet employees where they are.