One in five adults in the U.S. experience mental illness every year while only one in three of those adults will get the help they need. The World Health (WHO) estimates that $1 trillion is lost in productivity as a result of depression and anxiety every year. The WHO also reports that for every $1 invested in mental health treatment, there is a return of $4 in improved productivity, as well as improved health. Employees need support and are now demanding the help of their employers.
Here are five ways you can support employee mental health:
Managing stress and mental health
With the constant change in people’s everyday lives accompanying the pandemic, the resulting toll on people’s mental health is no surprise. An employee wellness program should offer resources to help employees as they handle the stress of juggling home and work commitments, along with other worries during this challenging time.
Expressing gratitude can lessen stress while increasing positivity. Encourage employee participation in wellness offerings through a recognition program. By recognizing employees who actively participate in stress management programs, employers can encourage mindfulness and wellness.
Companies can support employee wellbeing by not only acknowledging that employees have lives outside of work but also by enabling and encouraging a healthy work-life balance. Managers have the greatest impact when it comes to supporting employee wellness.
Taking the right steps to create a culture centered around wellness places employees who serve customers first. Offer flexible hours that fit individual needs. This can go a long way in helping employees maintain a work-life harmony, improve productivity, and boost morale.
Connect with your co-workers both professional and personally
Balancing the needs of the business with the needs of the individual requires an understanding of what matters to each employee. Companies can provide space for their employees to be vulnerable. While some employees will be open about their goals and challenges, others may prefer to focus on work-related topics. By engaging short but frequent check-ins throughout the week, companies can help employees feel appreciated, heard, and more comfortable with approaching management.
Provide Employee Assistance Programs (EAP)
Employees may be experiencing a variety of emotions, including stress, anxiety, and possibly grief from losing family members and close friends as a result of the pandemic. An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offers employees confidential access to resources to help them manage stress and deal with mental health issues.
An EAP can also assist employees with life management skills by offering tools to help employees manage nutrition or cope with grief or manage other needs. With free counseling sessions, employees can use an EAP to discuss stress, work, or personal issues among other challenges.
Encourage employees to take breaks when they are feeling overwhelmed or stressed out
“Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your business” - Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group.
If your employees aren’t happy, the chances are that your customers won’t be either. When your employees are feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, it can cause their productivity to suffer and may lead to burnout. Providing a work environment that encourages effective coping strategies is essential for companies. Failing to do so may result in lost productivity, lower loyalty rates, higher employee turnover, and poor engagement with customers. The heart of your business - your employees - should feel encouraged to take breaks when they are feeling overwhelmed or stressed out.
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