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As per recent reports and surveys, mental health has become a rising concern in the workplace. As we step into 2023, employers are looking forward to provide healthier working atmosphere to employees. Over the years, employers realized the importance of protecting employees’ mental health and well-being. Thus, they are taking initiative to provide an atmosphere that promotes better mental health condition and employment. In fact, they are considering these efforts as part of the attraction of the company and retention programs.

The pandemic years had been dreadful for a lot of employees. They had to manage stress, anxiety, and pressure single-handedly. Here are some of the most common triggers of poor mental health in the workplace:

  • Poor managerial support
  • Overlong working hours
  • Excessive workloads
  • Threats, violence, or intimidation in the workplace
  • Bad relationships with colleagues and managers
  • High-pressure environments
  • Leaders or managers being too harsh in front of others
  • Uncertainty  in the workplace

A research was conducted on the Lanes group’s 2019 whitepaper, which included a survey of over 1,000 working adults. The research showed evidence of the following:

  • 80% of candidates shared how exhausting and strenuous it was to work outside of their allotted working hours.
  • 22% of employees mentioned they had to take leave from their work just due to the extreme stress.
  • 27% of them admitted of unable to share their mental health issues with their manager.

The condition has worsened even more at the start of COVID-19. With isolation, people had no options but to deal with their issues alone. Employees who had to live far away from their families during this period suffered the most.

But what is important is we are willing to take necessary steps after spending so many years of pleasing people, over-committing to plans, saying yes when we desperately wanted to say no and gulping down every insult.

In the workplace, we often say yes to not hurt someone’s feelings, disappoint leaders, avoid conflict, or simply to lend a helping hand. However, you need to understand that when you agree to do whatever they are asking at the expense of your mental, physical or emotional health, you are actually saying “no” to yourself. With some boundary setting, we can finally have a healthier work culture and a better work-life balance.

How Can Workplaces Promote Better Mental Health among Employees?

We have found in nationwide employee survey that people seeks for information that is easily accessible, like who to ask and where to go for mental health-supported training from their workplaces. Employees also prefer a more open work culture. Keeping all these demands in mind, we have listed down five major ways how companies can support employee mental health.

  1. Figure out the impact of mental health on employees

Jerome Schultz, a Ph.D., lecturer at Harvard Medical School and a neuropsychologist, has mentioned, “It’s important for managers to be trained to recognize the signs of emotional distress so they can react in a supportive rather than a punitive way…” 

Here are some of the suggestive steps that can help you assess the mental health of employees:

  • Use surveys like Brief Job Stress Questionnaireand the Work Limitations Questionnaire for measuring stress levels and employees’ health conditions that negatively affects productivity.
  • Leaders of the company need to make mental health training mandatory to make them aware of and invested in the well-being of employees.
  • Proper training should be given to managers on aspects of what they should be doing when they find any signs of substance abuse or emotional distress.
  • Consider using mental health calculatorsto understand the costs of alcohol and substance abuse and untreated depression at your workplace.
  1. Use employee assistance program (EAP)

Companies can use employee assistance programs (EAP) for promoting mental health in the workplace. Not knowing how the confidential program works, shame, and fear of stigma make employees reluctant to use the resource. Thankfully, New York’s YMCA of Greater Rochester has changed the communication strategy about EAP. Instead of just posting notices in break rooms, consider sending out mental health newsletter on a monthly basis.

According to Fernan Cepero, YMCA of Greater Rochester’s senior human resources business partner, “The newsletter reminds employees these benefits are available to you. It’s paid for by you. It’s there for you. Use it as much as you want….”

  1. Include mental health coverage in your health care plan

Be familiar with the Mental Health parity Addiction Equity Act. When you provide mental health coverage in your health care plan, it shows how much you are serious about their mental well-being. . If you want to help out the offsets for their out-of-pocket costs, consider providing a health savings account.

  1. Take the help of communication to reduce stigma

Avoid waiting until open enrollment for sharing all the benefits of mental health and community resources. Like how you used to do in monthly newsletters, consider promoting this also frequently. Mental well-being is always a hot topic whenever executives build an inclusive culture and recruit talent. This will encourage employees to bring out the best versions of their work.   Arrange more workshops to let employees learn more about resilience and mental health.

  1. Promote holistic well-being

Make sure there is enough flexibility in the schedules of employees. Allow them to have proper access to apps that helps them sleep soundly and reduces their stress. Allow your employees to relax in between their work by arranging mindfulness training, meditation room, or yoga classes. Every employee needs some vacation time out of their busy schedules. Encourage more employees to get enough vacation time to unwind from work pressure and come back with a refreshed mind. Develop a return-to-work process and offer proper accommodations so employees can take leaves without any worries. They will feel supported enough when they return.

Help your employees build a connection with each other by arranging affinity groups, social events, and electronic message boards.

Here are some other ways employers promote a well-supported working environment:

  • Pave more compassionate pathways for people who are facing mental health crises. Let them take some time off from their work and reduce their workloads.
  • Encourage your staff members to take some time out for themselves. It can be in a designated break area or ensuring they do not routinely work longer than their contracted hours.
  • Foster a better team spirit, recognize their efforts and achievements, and show them how their contributions are valued.
  • Consider having open conversations or one-on-one sessions with your employees to understand what they require from you regarding mental health support.

SUMMING UP,

Employees are the most important assets of any company or organization. So, as an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure you maintain a healthier work culture. It will benefit you in terms of productivity and growth of your company. Mental health is a growing concern, and employees often struggle with more than they can handle. They cannot bring something new to the table because they are overly exhausted from work pressure. 2023 should be a new and improved era for improved mental health. We are all excited to find what is in store for 2023.

AUTHOR BIO

Joanna Wilson is a well-being leader at one of the most reputed well-being support groups. She is also associated with MyAssignmenthelp.io, where he specializes in offering proofreading service solution to students.

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