8 Ways To Support Mental Health As Staff Return To The Workplace
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What Can Companies Do to Help Employee Mental Health
During the pandemic, the prevalence of anxiety across the globe increased by 25%. The pandemic has undoubtedly increased the prevalence of mental health issues. As social animals, human beings need communication and company to thrive.
With many people living alone during the pandemic, it can be very overwhelming to return to work and socialize. As an employer, there are steps you can take to support your staff as they re-enter the workplace.
Keep reading for a list of the ways you can support mental health while your staff returns to an in-office work model.
8 Ways To Support Employee Mental Health In The Workplace
As an employer, you are responsible for improving the quality of life of your employees. It is in your best interest to place employee physical and mental wellbeing as paramount. If your employees are suffering from burnout, stress, anxiety, or depression, this will affect their productivity, which could lead to poor self-esteem and worries about job security.
By providing mental health support in the workplace, you are establishing an environment that allows employees to prioritize their mental health without fear of negative consequences.
Let’s dive in and discuss some of the best ways to create a culture of well-being and support in the workplace.
Understanding And Recognizing Mental Health Issues
As an employer, you will likely have several employees suffering from different mental health issues. It is essential to develop a strong understanding of different mental health issues, how to spot them, and how to best support employees who are suffering.
To begin to understand mental health issues and recognize the symptoms, it might be best to understand some common misconceptions about mental health issues:
- People should handle their mental health issues on their own – if employees are struggling to maintain their productivity at work, this could be due to depression and anxiety. Employees need support during this time, as placing pressure on your employees can cause them to become stressed. This stress will then contribute to their feelings of anxiety or depression, and their productivity will likely not improve. Supporting the employee through the issue and establishing smaller goals will help manage the condition and give your employee time to recover.
- Mental health care is only for people with severe problems – everyone is likely to struggle with managing stress and low mood at some point, regardless of whether they suffer from anxiety or depression. Mental health care is simply an educational practice that equips people with the tools to manage low moods and stresses throughout their lives in the most effective way. Everyone can benefit from mental health care, no matter whether they have a mental illness.
- Mental health always impacts productivity at work – not everyone will struggle to work when they suffer from mental health issues. This can make it challenging to spot employees who need support. By implementing company-wide mental health services, you can ensure that high-functioning individuals do not miss out on the resources they need.
Once you have removed some of the misconceptions about mental health, you can increase your awareness of specific mental health conditions.
Creating Opportunities For Exercise
There is undoubtedly a strong link between mental health and physical health. Exercise can have significant benefits for your mental health. When we exercise, the brain releases happy hormones like serotonin and endorphins responsible for regulating and boosting our mood.
One of the best ways to foster a culture of emotional wellness in the workplace is to start offering opportunities for exercise. Here are a few examples of programs you can use that will encourage employees to exercise:
- Daily step-count contests – smartwatches and fitness trackers count our daily steps. If you want to encourage your employees to exercise more, then a great idea is to start a step count competition. For a month, your employees will note down their daily step count, and the employee who walked the most that month will receive a reward.
- Marathons – a great way to motivate your staff to exercise is to sign your company up for a marathon. Employees will need to train for the marathon, and you can set up group training sessions as a bonding exercise.
- Offering gym memberships – many businesses offer free gym memberships to their employees. This allows employees to work out on their own time and even access luxury gyms for free. Offering free gym memberships is an excellent way to encourage wellness and improve employee satisfaction.
You must educate your employees on the importance of physical health and consistently provide opportunities for employees to achieve their daily recommended amount of exercise. This will result in more content employees who are less stressed and more relaxed.
Encouraging Healthy Eating
If your employees aren’t eating healthily, this can impact their mood. Nutritional deficiencies can cause fatigue and low mood, which you could mistake for depression. To ensure your employees have enough energy, you should encourage healthy eating in the workplace by providing subsidized healthy foods and offering healthy eating workshops.
In addition to encouraging healthy eating, you can also encourage employees to drink plenty of water throughout the day – dehydration can also significantly impact our energy levels.
Providing more flexibility in the workplace can make your employees feel more comfortable returning to work. You can make your work schedule more flexible by either implementing hybrid working or allowing employees to choose their hours.
If employees can choose their working hours, they can opt to work earlier in the day and finish early, or they can start later and work later. Each of your employees will feel more energetic and focused throughout the day. Allowing them to dictate their schedule means you will get them at their most productive hours, and they won’t feel chained to their desk from 9-5.
Implementing Hybrid Working
Hybrid working is an excellent way to ensure a smooth transition into the office, as your employees can visit the office as often as they would like. An excellent way to support hybrid working is to use a cloud-based access control solution that provides easy and stress-free management.
The access control system will keep you informed on which employees are working in the office, and which aren’t. Cloud-based access control allows you to receive real-time security alerts and operate your security system remotely, so you can operate your in-office security system from a remote location to support your hybrid working model. By securing your office space, you can help your employees to feel safe when they return to the office.
Encouraging Employees To Use Holidays
An overwhelming number of employees do not use all of their holidays. They might save their holidays for a special occasion or emergency which may not arrive. Many workplaces are now implementing unlimited holidays and encouraging employees to take breaks. Employees may not exceed their original holiday offering. Still, they will feel freer to use their holidays, even with the unlimited holiday bonuses. If your employees do not get enough holidays, they will become burnt out, so it’s in an employer’s best interest to offer employees balance and rest throughout the year.
Your employees will feel supported, and their job satisfaction will improve. Unhappy, burnt-out employees are not productive, so it’s in your best interest to prioritize employee mental health in the workplace. By implementing unlimited holidays, flexible working, and encouraging physical health, you can improve your employees’ quality of life.