Mental health has long been a struggle for workplaces to address. The APA’s survey on compounding pressures in the workforce found that work has been a significant cause of stress. This mental strain is causing many to experience low productivity or consider looking for work elsewhere. Without the right mental health policies in place, employers and businesses risk impeding progress and losing talent at faster rates. Implementing mental health support into workplace policies is integral to retaining employees, fostering an excellent corporate culture, and maintaining productivity.
Productivity and progress are some of the most essential things for any business. However, those factors often come at the cost of employees’ mental health. A World Health Organization write-up on mental health in the workplace notes that a poor mental condition can affect workers’ productivity, confidence, and the ease of retaining work. Absences due to depression and anxiety have led to 12 billion lost working days per year. A workplace that lacks care for its workforce and its employees' mental state will likely lose many business opportunities.
There is no better way to reduce employee absences, turnover, and performance due to mental health reasons than addressing it directly. Putting the proper measures in place to ensure your staff is getting work-life balance, treatment for mental illnesses, and the assurance that their struggles are being heard and taken care of is linked to better business. Forbes points out that including issues like depression in primary care can reduce missed work days by 30%. Employers offering mental health support can also see a 50% return-to-work rate after employees take a mental health-related leave. Showing compassion to your employees will reward your business with more progress.
As the demand for mental health support is continuously voiced, companies must rewire proper policies to aid employees. LHH’s insights on caring and compassionate leadership note that while some employees are more resilient than others, many will require empathy and compassion. To start addressing these concerns, leaders should take steps to build on emotional intelligence, helping them communicate genuinely with their staff. By providing employees with a safe space to openly discuss their fears and anxieties, business leaders can learn what needs to be addressed, this is what ethical leadership is about. Here are a few ways employers can start offering support to employees:
Companies should recognize the effect the workplace has on employees’ mental health. There’s a misconception that mental issues are personal and have no place in the office, but many fail to see how work can adversely impact employees. A good way to gauge how your company may be contributing to poor employee mental health would be asking for evaluations through regular surveys, check-ups, or discussions, then working with staff input to create mental health support plans.
It’s essential to be aware of the corporate culture that may factor into employee stress and burnout. Once you ask for evaluations from your staff regarding the office culture, you can integrate regular mental health programs, training, and seminars to promote a good work environment. You can also make regular team-building activities a must in your work routines to foster good relationships across the entire department or organization.
The workload can be one of the most challenging parts of the job, and employees might feel like their abilities alone aren’t enough to do the job. Technology can significantly help streamline the work process, removing some of the burdens your staff face. Our recent Add Value Business article on artificial intelligence (AI) explains that it is emerging as a tool for increasing work productivity and training your employees to work with it will bring in more business. AI can automate, optimize, and transform various work roles; these things don’t need constant human intervention, so your workers can focus on meaningful work and care for their mental health.