May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and now more than ever is it important to check in on your own personal mental health, as well as the mental health of your employees. Addressing mental health issues in the workplace can increase employee retention and productivity, and there are certain things that you, as a leader, can do to help your employees feel less stressed in regards to work.
Here are four workplace elements that can help support employee mental health:
1. Be Open About Mental Health
Arguably the most important thing that you can do is to be open about mental health in the workplace. Sometimes, your employees may feel scared or embarrassed to talk about their mental health. It’s crucial that you create a workplace culture that makes your employees feel comfortable enough to express their concerns. This can start from the top-down with leaders expressing their struggles of mental health issues as well as making vulnerability shine as a strength rather than a weakness.
2. Check-in With Employees Regularly
Though it’s always important to check-in with your employees regarding their mental health and wellbeing, it’s even more crucial to check-in with them during the current situation we are facing. You should connect with your employees weekly (or even a few times a week if you have the bandwidth) and discuss how they’re feeling. Show empathy and be emotionally available to their needs and help walk them through any problems or stress they may be experiencing. It’s essential that when you’re checking in that you make your staff feel reassured about work or any other issues they may be dealing with.
3. Help Your Employees Avoid Burnout
A Gallup study of almost 7,500 employees found that 44% of those employees reported feeling burnt out sometimes while 23% of those surveyed reported feeling burnt out at work very often or constantly. There are times at work when we all feel overwhelmed with the amount of work that’s put onto our plate. It’s a good idea to talk to your employees and ask them if they need someone to help take on part of the workload – everyone could use a little help every once in a while!
4. Promote Work/Life Balance
There are many people working remotely due to the current situation. This can add many distractions while trying to get work done (especially for parents). It’s important to encourage a healthy work/life balance for your employees. Let them know that you understand that there will be times where they have to step away from their work to take care of themselves and their family. Employees cannot efficiently work if they have something that needs to be done in regards to their personal life, and they’ll feel better attending to work matters (and will be more productive) if they know everything in their personal life is running smoothly.