Statistics reveal that even before the pandemic hit, nearly 50 million Americans were plagued by mental health disorders. Half of these individuals were unable to seek treatment for mental illness. Where the effect of the pandemic on physical health was abundantly talked about, its detrimental mental health effects were not given as much attention.
Covid-19 worsened the condition of mental health in the American workforce. Nearly 55% of people reported having suffered from mental health concerns because of Covid. As people join the workforce after a prolonged hiatus, businesses need to ensure a healthy working environment that takes mental health seriously.
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Facilitating employees about mental health comes easier for large businesses as they have the resources. However, it is equally important for small and medium-sized businesses to employ strategies to support employee mental health.
Here are a few ways small businesses can prioritize employee mental health and contribute to healthy work culture.
Being kind does not cost anything but can be an incredibly meaningful practice in the workspace. It is important to be considerate and kind in your speech and conduct when dealing with your employees. This includes communicating with them politely even in the face of conflict- shouting is hardly a productive strategy to conduct a dialogue.
Employees are already under both personal and professional stresses. Business organizations can lighten things up by getting gifts for employees during the holiday season. You can also have employee appreciation programs in your organization. This is sure to have a positive impact on the mental health of your employees, as well as improve their loyalty towards the business organization.
Remind yourself that the other person might be having a rough day or going through a personal conflict you are not aware of. Being empathetic is an important leadership quality. Supervisors and managers should reach out to their employees that are underperforming to understand the root cause of the lack of productivity.
Encouraging Personal Well-Being
The best way to destigmatize mental health and encourage personal well-being in the workplace is to talk about it openly. The leadership of the company or business should share personal experiences or bring on board individuals who can talk about the importance of mental health.
Employees often feel hesitant in asking for time off or talking about a troublesome situation arising due to mental health issues. This could be because they fear people will doubt their professional capabilities or just treat them differently. To ensure maximum productivity and the well-being of your employees this needs to change. It is important to encourage employees to speak up and actively take steps to support them through the process.
When it comes to encouraging your employees, you can do it in terms of activities and training in the workspace. This can be in the form of excellent leadership training which is enriched with fun activities and learning. If an employee is feeling blue after an inadequate performance, the new challenge through this training can be enough motivation.
A lot of the stress an employee may experience arises from ineffective communication. This could be regarding work policies, projects, etc. Establish a direct and clear passage of communication with your employees. This could be in the form of weekly check-ins or one on one meetings, whatever suits your team dynamic best.
Such practices allow you to gauge how each of your team members is feeling. You can identify concerning behaviors like lack of sleep, and reduced productivity and take steps to prevent a potential burnout.
Create a Healthy Work Environment
As a small enterprise, you may not be able to offer extensive wellness programs but you can work effectively towards making the office environment healthy. Here are a few quick ways to encourage a healthy work culture
- Create effective mental health policies, which include paid medical leaves, annual holidays, etc.
- Consider providing flexible work options for employees that are struggling with mental health
- Organize regular seminars and webinars revolving around the topic of mental health
- Provide training to your team on identifying degrading mental health and on how to support colleagues struggling with mental health
- Actively reinforce the idea that seeking professional help is okay
Covid-19 was difficult for many reasons. It further deteriorated the mental health of American workers where the population was already struggling with managing stress and other mental health-related concerns in the workplace.
Supporting employee mental health does not just result in a healthier workforce but enables your resources to do top-notch work. However, it becomes tricky when you have limited resources. We hope the tips we provided help create a healthy work environment.