5 ways to tackle mental health in the workplace

Mental Health Awareness Week is the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health and mental health problems and inspire action to promote the message of good mental health for all. Mental health is often seen as a taboo subject, especially in the corporate world, however more and more companies are getting proudly involved and promoting a variety of initiatives for employees to come forward and feel comfortable broaching the subject.

There are so many reasons why corporates and SMEs are taking this subject more seriously. Mental health can have a plethora of negative effects on employees and employers alike. The rate of employee absenteeism rises, more people call in sick, the morale in the team is down, productivity levels take a hit and the level of performance remains at a low. Passion and motivation is not present and this can have a domino effect across the board. According to PWC, 40% of employees do not feel comfortable raising the issue of mental health with an employer or colleague. Mental health charity, Mind, state that mental health issues such as stress is the number one cause of absence in the workplace.

Below are five effective ways to help tackle mental health in your workplace:

1. Work-life balance
Encourage your team to work a regular 9 hour workday as drained, stressed employees are not efficient. When your team are overworked and overstretched, they are not working to their optimum so it’s a loose-loose situation all round. Companies need to ensure their staff are given manageable workloads that don’t require regular late nights and the need to check their emails over the weekend, just so they feel they can keep up. Work deadlines should be realistic and employees shouldn’t feel they are under pressure 24/7 – as this is not sustainable.

2. Flexi time / remote working
Offering flexibility can often be more important to some employees than even an increase in pay cheque. Giving employees an element of freedom to come in later and leave earlier, or the option to work from home can help reduce stress and anxiety and can often promote productivity. This also shows companies do indeed value and trust their employees to get the job done, which can help promote confidence in the workplace.

3. Recognise your employees at work
There’s nothing better than receiving recognition from a manager or colleague for a job well done. Employees often feel under pressure that they’re not performing well, or bosses are not fully satisfied with their output as simple praise is never given. It’s much easier for people to criticise than compliment. Companies need to start recognizing when milestones are hit, a job is completed ahead of deadlines or just general great work done. Formal reward and recognition platforms can be put in place with financial and non-financial awards, alternatively simple hand written thank you cards can also do the trick! Manners and recognition do not need to break the bank.

4. Introduce wellness into the workplace
A long term solution to tackling mental health in the workplace can be to introduce ongoing healthy benefits and perks for all employees. There are so many exciting ways to do this, from offering discounted gym memberships, hiring an in-house fitness or yoga instructor to come in weekly, to doing boot camps in the local parks and offering free memberships to the likes of HeadSpace and Calm (meditation apps). Offer healthy snacks in the office and a smoothie station. Encourage teams to take frequent breaks from the screen and have a walk around, a game of ping pong or just a chat to some team members. A healthy body can aid in a healthy mind, so lead the way to a healthier workspace which can most definitely tackle mental health and alleviate any additional stressors.

5. Offer an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)
Companies can show a duty of care to their employees by offering an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). This will give staff access to 24/7 confidential help and advice when they most need it. If employees are experiencing any work-related or personal difficulties this can severely effect their working capacity and can increase absenteeism. Employee morale will be down and this can impact the whole culture like wildfire. An EAP service can include everything from telephone helplines, structured telephone counselling, post trauma support, GP Call back and medical advice, commercial legal advice for HR, online Health Portal, online Health Assessments, online Personal Coaching Tools… to name a few. An EAP can have vast benefits including reducing employee sick leave, retaining top caliber staff, boosting performance and productivity as well as improving employee wellbeing.

Is mental health a priority in your business? What initiatives have you launched for your employees?

If you’d like to know how Xexec could help your team with wellbeing benefits and perks, get in touch with one of Xexec’s Engagement Specialists to discuss your bespoke requirements.