Do you know what you need to do to promote mental health in the workplace? It’s important to give this issue the attention it deserves, as mental conditions are now the second most common health problem in the workplace.
In this article, we’ve put together some tips on how you can support your employees’ wellbeing.
What is mental health and why is it important?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines mental health as “a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” So, health is not simply a case of an absence of disease, but rather a feeling of wellbeing.
Enjoying good emotional and mental health is vital, as it permeates every aspect of our lives: thoughts, behaviour, emotions, and social relationships, among others. Being emotionally healthy fills us with vitality, creativity, and productivity both at home and at work. It also helps us address the changes that arise throughout the course of our lives and face adversities in a positive way.
Good mental health brings with it a set of benefits which include:
- Stimulating psychological and social balance.
- Creating healthy, enriching relationships.
- Helping to manage stress and anxiety.
- Helping us to handle pressure.
How do you care for mental health in the workplace?
Mental health is influenced by social, psychological, and biological factors. So, work stress can be one possible trigger of psychological problems such as anxiety and depression. In fact, mental disorders are the second most common health problem in the work environment.
At Kenjo, we know how important it is to throw light on this issue and the need for companies to consider their employee’s mental health. As such, we carried out a survey with HR managers and employees in Germany to find out what impact Covid-19 has had on their mental health. The results found that 40% of those surveyed saw their stress levels increase with the arrival of Covid-19.
On seeing these results, we decided to put together a series of tips on how to improve the mental health of employees.
1. Send out employee satisfaction surveys
Periodically carrying out employee satisfaction surveys allows us to track staff sentiment. With a very simple questionnaire we can find out how they are feeling, the problems they are facing, what they would like to change, etc.
At Kenjo we have a specific function that automatically sends out employee satisfaction surveys and lets you visualise the data clearly on a dashboard.
2. Work on communication and expectations
Companies with open communication processes and clear expectations and objectives for all employees usually have a healthier work environment. Workers know what is expected of them and understand their progression through the company.
The recommended course of action in this case, is to implement a system of OKRs (Objectives and Key Results). Through this system, each employee works towards clear goals and understands how their success will be measured.
3. Monitor each employee
Measuring and tracking each employee’s growth and development is essential to identify, for example, workers with falling performance or frequent absences. They are usually, at best, suffering from some sort of emotional difficulty.
By using automatic and personalised reports it is possible to do this type of monitoring without putting too much pressure on the HR team.
4. Set boundaries between work and home
Respecting office hours, especially when remote working is in place, is essential for employees to have the free time to enjoy their social, personal, and family lives. Mandatory attendance tracking can be a good way to identify repeated divergences and be able to intervene. For this, an automatic, digital time tracking software is one of the simplest and most convenient ways to manage clocking in and out.
5. Encourage breaks and active rest
The company can schedule breaks throughout the working day for each employee to do their preferred activity, or, for example, organise what are known as active rest sessions such as yoga and mindfulness. These types of activities help alleviate the effects of stress and improve an individual’s overall health.
6. Offer private health insurance
Many businesses offer their workers the option of joining a private health scheme as a company benefit. If you’re thinking of including this option at your company, make sure you have good mental health cover. According to the WHO, every pound invested in general health delivers a return of 4 pounds in productivity.
7. Guarantee a pleasant, safe working environment
A pleasant office, where equipment is in good working order and there is sufficient space and natural light, goes a long way towards influencing employee wellbeing. It may seem superfluous, but the working environment can have a huge impact on staff satisfaction.
In cases where the company has established remote working and has no physical offices, it is important to ensure that all employees have the equipment and furniture they require to work at home.
8. Encourage positive conduct
The company can play a role in developing positive behaviour, such as communication, empathy and assertiveness. This helps to create a better working environment and will, of course, benefit employee mental health. Workshops or talks are often a good choice for coaching your employees on these skills. Likewise, team building events are a useful way to create cohesive teams and positively influence the work processes they are involved in.
If you are looking for more insight on taking care of your employees' mental health, we recommend you read our latest articles on
- Workplace stress and burnout: How HR can protect their employees
- Remote work and mental health
- A mental health policy for the workplace - Why your organisation needs one
9. Normalise mental health care
It is important that the company provides employees with enough information to make them aware of the impact mental health has both at work and at home. Also, internally, you can take measures to combat the stigma and prejudice associated with these topics by promoting open conversations or organising health and wellbeing days.
10. Encourage healthy living habits
Mental health can also be greatly influenced by our daily habits. Therefore, promoting healthy practices, like eating fruit, drinking lots of water and doing regular exercise can have a big impact. The company can become an ally in this by, for example, offering fruit or free gym memberships to its employees.