Organisations play a critical role in encouraging a positive mental wellbeing culture in the workplace. It starts with leadership setting the tone and demonstrating a genuine commitment to employee wellbeing.
When leaders prioritise mental health and openly discuss its importance, it sends a powerful message to employees that their mental wellbeing is valued.
Here are several key strategies that an employer can implement to protect the mental health of their employees at work:
Foster a Supportive Work Environment
Encourage open communication, respect, and empathy among colleagues. Create a culture where employees feel comfortable discussing their concerns and seeking help without fear of stigma or judgment.
Promote Work-life balance
Encourage employees to maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life. Set realistic expectations regarding workload and deadlines, and promote the importance of taking breaks, vacations, and time off to recharge and rejuvenate.
Leaders have an important role here as role models by demonstrating the behaviour they hope to see in their employees.
Provide mental health resources
Offer free access to mental health support, such as a counselling service or employee assistance programs (EAPs), and accessible training sessions on mental wellbeing. These should be short and focused on topics such as stress management, resilience, mental wellbeing. They should include practical advice, not just information.
Take steps to keep employees informed with regular reminders about wellbeing resources and how to access them. EAP studies consistently show that people tend not to retain messages about available resources. They also tend to underuse them due to misunderstandings about what employee assistance support is for. Reminders and encouragement help to dispuel misunderstandings.
Raise awareness and reduce stigma
Conduct awareness campaigns and training sessions to address the stigma surrounding mental health. Encourage open discussions, share success stories, and highlight the importance of seeking help when needed.
Flexible work arrangements
Consider offering flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options, flexible schedules, or compressed workweeks. This can help employees manage personal responsibilities and reduce the stress associated with commuting and work-life conflicts.
Encourage physical activity
Promote physical activity and its positive impact on mental health. Offer gym memberships, organise wellness challenges, or encourage employees to take active breaks during the workday.
Support and train managers
Train managers to understand mental health issues and when and how they can provide support, and direct employees to appropriate resources. Foster a leadership style that emphasises employee wellbeing and encourages safe, open dialogue.
Positive mental wellbeing
By taking these proactive steps, organisations create an environment where mental health is valued, destigmatised, and actively nurtured, fostering a positive culture that benefits the wellbeing and productivity of their employees.
Taking a positive stance towards employee mental health is an investment that enhances the overall organisational culture. It improves productivity, employee engagement, and retention. It also reflects well on the public image of the company.