Workplace Wellness speaks to the holistic health of your organization and will lead to increased performance, improved staff retention, and a greater sense of belonging.  Anxiety, depression, and employee burnout are at an all-time high and keeping your staff happy and healthy is more important than ever before.

In this module, we’ve outlined some steps you and your staff can take to address Workplace Wellness.

Addressing Staff Mental Health Wellness

We see so many individuals with mental illness or one kind or another, but we don’t pay the same amount of attention to the mental health of our colleagues and staff.  Your staff’s mental wellness is one component of the overall workplace wellness, but arguably one of the most critical aspects. If your staff feels depressed, anxious, or burnt-out, the feeling can spread and become pervasive, so it needs to be addressed expeditiously to prevent increased attrition, lower staff engagement and productivity, and diminished company morale.

Companies are starting to invest more in mental health support out of necessity, but there is still a lot to do. The availability of resources provided by employers grew since the pandemic, including extra paid time off, company-wide mental health days, and mental health training. Also, employees were more inclined to take extended or more frequent breaks from work and time during the workday for mental health breaks or therapy appointments.

Employers benefit from supporting mental health at work.

Employers that have supported their employees with the pandemic, racial tension, return-to-office planning, and/or mental health overall have better mental health and engagement outcomes. Staff has higher job satisfaction and intentions to stay at their company, along with more positive views of their company and its leaders, including trusting their company and being proud to work there.

Suggested Corporate Changes.

  1. Leaders must treat mental health as an organizational priority with accountability mechanisms such as regular pulse surveys and clear ownership. It should not just be relegated to HR. Leaders should serve as allies by sharing their own personal experiences to foster an environment of transparency and openness. Due to fear and shame, even companies with the best mental health benefits won’t see an uptick in usage unless a stigma-free culture exists.
  2. Organizations have to train leaders, managers, and all employees on how to navigate mental health at work, have difficult conversations, and create supportive workplaces. Managers are often the first line in noticing changes and supporting their direct reports. Building an environment of psychological safety is key. Mental health policies, practices, culturally competent benefits, and other resources must be put in place and (over)communicated.
  3. Employers should consider added flexibility in the workplace, which many workers experienced with remote work for the first time during the pandemic. Respondents reported that their company’s return-to-office plans were negatively impacting their mental health. The top two reasons given were the policies around in-person versus remote work (41%) and the lack of work-life balance or flexibility based on the policy (37%).
  4. Promoting autonomy, establishing boundaries, and creating norms around communications, responsiveness, and urgency can go a long way toward building a mentally healthy culture. For example, a professional services firm might require long hours for a client deadline but could make internal deadlines more malleable. Other ideas include no email after hours, focused work time, and no-meeting days. Leaders must model these and other mentally healthy behaviors for employees to truly feel like they can do the same. Having conversations between managers and direct reports to articulate individual working styles and preferences supports inclusion. Employers must also ensure that teams have the resources and bandwidth necessary to do their jobs effectively while remaining mentally healthy.
  5. Finally, a culture of connection is key — from regular check-ins that make time for the question, “How are you?” to healthy working relationships to meaningful interactions among teams. Employers should provide organization-wide opportunities for connection and also promote these ongoing, deeper one-on-one conversations between managers and direct reports as well as between colleagues. “How are you?” should always be followed up with “How can I help you?” especially at the manager level. The importance of empathy and authenticity cannot be overstated.





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