There has been an enhanced focus on mental health in recent years, and this growing voice has stretched all the way to modern businesses. Thankfully, it needn’t cost anything to establish a healthy approach to mental wellbeing in the workplace. These simple strategies are ideal for generating great results with zero cost.
1. Create a flexible workplace
Some companies may be better placed to be flexible with how their employees approach the world of work than others. Businesses with a well established and firmly entrenched culture could find this flexibility more challenging, but allowing as much leeway as possible is important when it comes to mental health.
SMEs may consider that they know more about their team members on a personal level, which will allow them to tailor solutions around the individuals within the company. However, larger businesses can also draw on their greater resources when devising mental health strategies for team members – so this approach works for all.
Stress is a major factor in damaging employee productivity and workplace morale. It leads to a lack of motivation and negatively affects all aspects of working life, as well as having a secondary impact on other employees who see their colleagues become disheartened.
Around 40% of workers report feeling stressed by their work, so finding ways which help them to manage this – by allowing them to work from home on occasion, talking through concerns, changing start times to allow for school drop off or simply varying their role for example – will produce impressive dividends. Consider how you can be more flexible. Don’t be afraid to go straight to the source and ask your staff what measures would help them to reduce tension, anxiety or stress.
2. Encourage openness
Employees dealing with mental health struggles may feel they cannot possibly disclose this to their employer. Breaking down this barrier is key to creating the kind of open and frank dialogue which will help them feel better about their problems – and also enable you to support them in whatever way feels applicable. You could start small by appointing an employee as the go-to individual to speak to about any mental health issues in the workplace. Equip them with the resources needed to help support team members in need of a helping hand.
3. Make mental health ‘everyday’
Don’t encourage negative behaviours in the workplace; foster a renewed and caring culture. Make sure your staff always know that you are dedicated to supporting them as they strive for a work/life balance, by ensuring they are not forever working late or skipping breaks to focus on projects.
4. Ensure there is a break room
Your employees need to know there is somewhere they can go to rest and relax during their breaks, particularly if travelling off-site is not possible or appealing. Make this room as attractive as possible, providing it with the facilities which will help your team members to unwind for a little while before returning to work refreshed and reinvigorated. This small gesture can make a big difference when done well. At lunch, it could be a place to eat away from a screen. During quiet times it could be a place to read or meditate or speak to a co-worker over coffee.
Also published on Medium.