Given the pandemic and recent world events on top of regular life stressors, mental health is on the top of everyone’s priority list. Employees are taking their mental health more seriously, and companies have taken notice and leaned in to support and help where possible. However, how do you know if the resources and tools you have are helping your employees where they need them most?
Here are 5 simple but effective ways to help your employees’ mental health:
1. Detect signs of burnout fast
As managers, we usually react to signs of burnout amongst our employees versus being aware of the red flags and being proactive with solutions. Burnout can show in several ways, but most common in your employees are disengagement, increased absenteeism, decreased productivity, and even isolation. The best practice is to be proactive to try and prevent stress from getting to the level of burnout. The best way to do this for your employees’ mental health is to implement resources such as counseling, allowing flexible working hours, creating “working time” in employees’ calendars, and encouraging them to utilize their PTO and vacation time to unplug.
2. Connect and Collaborate
Since the pandemic, remote and hybrid work is now a norm, which has its benefits but can be challenging when trying to keep your employees engaged as a team. Creating opportunities for connection and collaboration is critical to helping your employees’ mental health. A few ways you can do this is to begin setting up your meetings in collaborative ways. From having structured agenda to leaving room at the end of the meetings to discuss innovative or out-of-the-box ideas, this can be just the avenue employees need to feel supported and heard. Also, let’s not forget the important role managers play in employees’ mental health. Setting up one-on-ones to connect on giving positive feedback and support on how to improve, can help reduce anxiety and support employees’ mental health.
3. Make mental health training a part of your organization
Many employees may be facing various elements of stress and mental health concerns in their personal life, and us as managers may not always know what it is. These stressors can cause disruptions at work by increasing absenteeism, and a company support system must be in place to help employees’ mental health whenever possible. Employee Assistance Programs offering counseling and resources can be a great support and avenue for employees. In addition, HR must also look to implementing mental health programs to build mental resilience in the employees’ professional and personal lives. Including training that serves as a preventive measure would encourage real collaboration and foster a feeling of safety.
4. Recognize changes needed for a post-pandemic office
If you are looking to have your employees return to the office full time, you need to recognize that after two years, this is going to be a shift for some employees and their mental health. To help with this, you’ll need to accommodate your employees in the return-to-office plans to ensure the shift does not negatively impact the employees’ mental health. Ways to help this is increasing communication to update new office practices, schedules, and resources as it will help reduce anxieties about returning to the office while improving wellbeing and creating more collaboration at work.
5. Managers need to be a good example
Managers know the importance of employee mental health and how workplace performance heavily depends on this but what they don’t remember is that this goes both ways. If you expect your employees to use their existing EAPs, emphasize that this includes every position, level, or title in the company. Managers must take their mental health seriously, as leaders aren’t superhuman with special abilities. In extreme cases, all employees can experience stress, anxiety, burnout, and depression. Encouraging teams to harness the benefits of mental health awareness and training is beneficial for everyone.