Contributed by Bethany Seton.
Our mental health clearly affects all aspects of our daily life—including the way we do business and conduct ourselves in the workplace. However, due to the nature of conditions such as anxiety, addiction, depression and the like, problems can go undetected for lengthy periods of time, even as they damage relationships with family and coworkers.
Unfortunately, mental health is not a topic people typically discuss openly. Some employees may worry that revealing their depression or anxiety makes them appear unfit for the job. Others may not even be aware that they are experiencing mental health problems.
To help improve the mental health in your workplace—and thus improve productivity—follow these steps.
Acknowledge the problem
The first step toward healing is facing the problem. This includes not only the person experiencing symptoms of a mental health issue, but the people close to them as well. In the workplace, those people are coworkers and the employer.
Raising awareness is essential. One way to do this is to give employees access to education and resources from competent organizations. Once educated on the possible tell-tale signs of mental illness, they will be able to reach out to colleagues in need or even recognize the need in themselves.
Provide adequate psychotherapy options
Once the problem has been detected, it’s time to take the bull by the horns. In order to ensure a healthy working environment, many employers have opted for workplace counseling.
This is usually a short-term solution meant to encourage employees to work on acute issues. When all employees have access to free, confidential workplace counseling services, it not only helps improve the overall efficiency of the company, but also shows the commitment and care of the employer.
On the other hand, in today’s modern world, online or remote psychotherapy is also an option. You are now able to reap all the benefits of virtual psychology, meaning, you can now have access to sessions online.
Teleconferencing and instant messaging counseling services provided by trained professionals have been slowly incorporating themselves into the field of psychotherapy. While it’s not completely accepted in every culture, many find that remote counseling is both effective and timesaving. Also, the field is further developing in terms of perfecting, adapting and using artificial intelligence chatbots so they can perform cognitive analysis of patients.
Train your managing staff
Managers greatly benefit from relevant training designed to support staff with mental health problems. Every employee is unique, and managers should be able to recognize specific features that define their staff’s behavior.
Some people will need just a little support and guidance, while others will require significantly more attention and encouragement. Confidence building is essential to good performance, as well as motivation and acknowledgement of achievement.
All employees should feel valued and appreciated when they perform well, and when they encounter obstacles including sensitive topics such as their mental wellbeing.
You have control over the working environment of your company, and you should try to make it as pleasant as possible for your workforce.
For instance, encouraging work-life balance will greatly help reduce stress and prevent burnout. Flexible hours are a perk many will appreciate since they’ll have more control over their day, manage traffic better and have time for medical appointments.
Furthermore, offering flexibility shows your employees that you trust them to be independent and creative, and thus they will surely be motivated to do their tasks without that stressful feeling of you hovering over them. Assertive communication and constructive criticism will show your employees that you appreciate all the effort they put in, and have an understanding of their potential mishaps.
Offer healthy perks
Activities such as lunchtime yoga or gym memberships are well worth the investment. There is a myriad of options an employer can choose from. Offering a healthy lunch in the staff kitchen is an excellent way to start. Or, educate staff about maintaining a healthy lifestyle in a company-sponsored workshop led by a health professional.
Psychological health must never be taboo in a well-organized and success-oriented company. There are many things employers can do to improve their staff’s wellbeing, which undoubtedly leads to better work performance. After all, it is the people that make the company thrive and a happy worker equals a profitable business.
Bethany Seton is passionate about traveling and writing, and contributes to various online content outlets.