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How can businesses best support their employees’ mental health?

Welcome back to our blog! As we come to the end of mental health awareness month, we would like to mark it by discussing ways businesses can best support their employees’ mental health. According to the World Health Organization, around 240 million people globally suffer from depression which is one of the leading causes of disability.

The term ‘employee mental health’ is used to describe the psychological, social, and emotional well-being of those working for your business. Read our article to know how you can make a difference!

Why should mental health matter to businesses?

The first thing we wanted to address is why it matters to support your employees’ mental health. It is especially important in this time where COVID-19 is causing a significant impact on mental health and changing the way employees work.

Did you know that since the pandemic began, 42% of global employees have faced a decline in their mental health? Addressing workplace or remote employees’ mental health is something businesses need to take into account because it has the following results for businesses.

Lower health related costs. As stated in the introduction of this article, depression is one of the leading causes of disability. Furthermore, mental health issues cause other long term physical illnesses including blood pressure, hormonal imbalance, lack of sleep, respiratory conditions, and cancer. This will lead to higher health related costs for employees.

Higher rate of retention. Employees suffering from depression, anxiety, stress, or other mental health issues will often quit their jobs out of frustration or a sense of unhappiness at work. Even though the job may or may not be the cause of their mental health issues, it is imperative that they are provided with ways to cope and address their health at work. Those with good mental health are able to find fulfilment and stay longer at their work.

Increased productivity. As depression at the workplace is unfortunately common, those working while suffering with poor mental health will have low productivity and performance. On the other hand, it has been studied that those who are treated for depression have shown increased productivity.

  1. https://www.who.int/teams/mental-health-and-substance-use/mental-health-in-the-workplace
  2. https://hbr.org/2020/08/8-ways-managers-can-support-employees-mental-health
  3. readingThe Relationship between Mental Health, Mental Illness and Chronic Physical Conditions

What can you do to address and improve mental health at work?

Now that we know that the mental health of employees is important to your business, let us explore how businesses can reduce the risk factors that reduce mental health at work. It is increasingly essential that businesses support their employees’ well-being especially at the time of this pandemic. Employers can follow these steps to best reduce mental health issues and better support their employees while saving costs in their business.

Increase mental health awareness at all levels. Regularly address mental health awareness in the workplace and support all levels including managers and employees learn more about mental health risks. Educational sessions also decrease the stigma in mental health and improve the ability to ask for help for those suffering with mental health issues.

Reduce levels of work-related stress. For the most part high stress at work is the main cause of mental health issues caused at the workplace. Reducing continuous overwork, improving work life balance without tight hours for work and lowering continued pressure on delivery can relieve stress for employees. Supporting in helping employees feel included and a part of the decision-making process can also help reduce stress at work.

Improve communication and ways to check in. A lack of communication can lead to frustration and low levels of motivation and drive-up mental health issues. Businesses can help employees in feeling free to communicate, know their work tasks clearly or get continued feedback so that they have lower levels of stress. Employers should also regularly check in with employees on how they are doing and feel about their work and wellbeing, giving them room to freely communicate any challenges they have.

Invest in training focused on mental health. Training focused on how employees can manage their mental health and communicate their challenges effectively can help enable and provide employees tools to maintain their mental health. This also gives employees a sense that their wellbeing matters to the business.

Have a policy on workplace harassment and bullying. These can happen at any level of the work hierarchy and even in remote work. If an employee is subjected to harassment or bullying, it is highly likely that they will have increased risk for mental health issues. Thus, it is paramount to make sure your policies include ways that harassment and bullying can be addressed, and employees can feel free to report such incidents.

Have a health policy that addresses mental health. Businesses need to have a strategy and health policy that includes mental health issues with ways employees and the business can address and support good mental health. A good workplace health policy will be clear and make employees feel at ease that their mental health issues can be addressed and in what way they can do so.

Why we at AJ Connect care

As a people-centred recruitment consultancy leading with a heart, we at AJ Connect believe in prioritising good mental health at work both in our organisation and in those we work with. We support and promote ways that businesses can improve their employees’ mental health resulting in high productivity, retention, and lower costs. We deeply care about the long-term wellbeing, happiness and success of the clients and candidates we work with. Join us in promoting mental health awareness by liking and sharing our article.

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