Mental Health In The Workplace
As you may know, mental health is a serious issue in Australia and around the globe. In Australia, over two in five people aged: 16-85 years had experienced a mental disorder at some time in their life. This is a large proportion of people and only got worse during the COVID saga. Your employees are human too, they can be affected by having ill-mental health, it would not be unlikely if someone in your organisation was struggling. Therefore the big question stands…How can you fight the battle against ill-mental health in your workplace?
Create a Safe and Healthy Workplace for Your Employees.
Having a healthy workplace is essential to your office culture. Having a place that employees look forward to seeing every day is a big thing. It may seem obvious but if an employee is bored with where they work, then I wouldn’t say that is positive for their mental health or workplace culture. Work on spaces that could benefit the culture and give people a chance to communicate and socialise while having their lunch break for instance. Create spaces for creativity to flourish and for stress to be relieved.
Encourage a Healthy Environment.
Many may underestimate the benefit of exercise. No matter how little or large the effort is. Studies have shown that “33 percent of high-stress adults said they feel less stressed after exercising.” This statistic is applicable to even a 15-20 minute walk, which is more than achievable during a lunch break. Employees need to be encouraged to exercise, potentially creating a culture of employees going for walks in groups or socialising while going for walks during breaks. In doing this, you can see a substantial improvement in workplace culture and lowered stress levels.
Have an Open Ear
As a manager, employees need to be able to talk to you and come to you for advice. This is a big thing for employees if they can talk to their manager about something personal such as their mental health. Making yourself available for conversation plays a vital role in how your employees value you.
Being able to speak to an employee on a personal level may be hard as some can struggle with the separation between work life and private life. Even if you don’t want to accept it, work is everywhere, so find that overlap where the two can be combined.
How To Start The Conversation
You may know the organisation R U OK? But in actual fact, their name is the basis of their charity, the idea is that just asking someone if they are ok is all it takes to possibly save a life. Simply asking someone if they are OK can mean a lot.
You can’t always expect an employee just to reach out if they are struggling. Some people may not know how to reach out and what to say, you need to start these conversations and make it known that these conversations are encouraged. People need to feel comfortable where they work or they will never thrive.
Providing support is not an easy task, as some may make it hard to do so. In this case, letting someone know that they are not alone and that you are there for them is the most you can do. Asking someone if they are ok, letting them know that you care and that you can give them support if they need it can go a long way.
Create a support network surrounding your employees and make the environment open, where employees feel as though they can speak with a free mind and not be judged for how they are feeling or for what is going on in their personal lives.
We Are All Human!
Sometimes, even when we think that we are doing the right thing, we need to take a second and think about what we are really doing.Trust me, no grown adult wants to be publicly treated like a child because of their mental health. Even if someone may need some special attention, you have to remember that we are all the same, treat your employees with respect and they will feel more encouraged and more comfortable talking to you.
Supporting employees with staying mentally healthy is extremely important in today’s day and age. Creating a healthy work environment can prove beneficial for employees, and managers. Creating a healthy work environment and having a good connection with employees can make for a bubbly attractive workplace for future candidates to look forward to.
Managing the well-being of current employees sparks more benefits than you can count on two hands, improving the culture of your workplace and improving the culture between employees is vital and can impact your business tremendously.