There’s no doubt that mental health is becoming an increasingly important consideration in the workplace.
Alongside the potential for an unhappy workforce, mental health struggles at work cost businesses £45 billion a year, according to research by Deloitte and the mental health charity, Mind.
So how can you, as a manager, director or business owner, help to support your employees from an emotional and psychological perspective?
1. Flexible working hours
Staff lead busy lives outside of work, and these stresses can put a strain on emotional wellbeing. Whether it’s medical appointments, childcare or commuting strains, providing flexible hours can enable team members to adapt their working patterns to suit their own personal circumstances - keeping them happier at work and at home.
2. Remote working
Many jobs today don’t necessarily require a physical workplace. Providing remote working as an option for those in roles that allow it could be a worthwhile option in enabling them to enjoy a more balanced lifestyle. It requires trust on the part of the employer, but if you trust someone enough to hire them, then why not allow them to work off their own initiative?
3. Look past money as the sole benefit
Many workers now place a lot of value on additional work benefits, as well as the standard monetary ones. Alongside competitive salaries and bonus structures, think about the positive impacts that additional perks could offer to your workforce, such as:
Cycle to work schemes
Healthcare cash plans
4. Provide relevant training
It’s important that team members feel sufficiently prepared to do their jobs, and that means providing the right training opportunities.
But workplace-specific training related to people management can also help to support mental health. You could look to bring in external professionals to run through emotional and mental health workshops, or to provide insights into different team members’ personality types, enabling you to tailor management approaches to suit individuals rather than going with a blanket method.
5. Have a process for those suffering
Mental health issues and work-related stress can often come about as a result of one another, and it’s important that you have a process in place for staff members that are struggling.
Try to promote a culture where employees feel they can speak to management and colleagues about their problems. And foster an environment where team members feel they are taken seriously. Perhaps provide additional support to help them overcome issues in the workplace, and use judgment and compassion to perhaps allow for some personal recovery time away from the workplace.
Mental health can’t be ignored in the workplace
With a loss of productivity from mental health issues such a costly expense for businesses, there’s no doubt staff need to be supported emotionally as well as physically in the modern workplace.
The rewards for doing so can be huge, too: improving mental wellbeing can increase productivity by as much as 12%.
If you’re not already, it’s time to make mental health a priority in your business.