4 ways to dramatically improve the mental health of your workers

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The pandemic has pushed mental health to the forefront of workplace conversations. Mental health support at work is no longer a well-being, it is a must.

As workers return to the office full-time or in a hybrid model, leaders are rethinking work-life balance and what it really means to prioritize mental health in the workplace.

It is a moment of reset that will ripple through decades to come. Mental health has become a centerpiece of the talent war, and companies now know that employee well-being is inextricably linked to their bottom line.

The Talkspace Stress Survey 2022, which surveyed 1,400 full-time employees in the United States, shows that a majority find work too stressful and are exhausted by it, even two years after Covid-19 first rocked our workplaces. Policies related to Covid, staff turnover and other fluctuations require employees to operate in a constant state of change.

So what can employers do to put mental health support into practice?

1. Make managers an essential part of the solution

Managers are one of the most critical groups that employees turn to for help. Employees who say their bosses take steps to protect their mental health are much more likely to find their jobs fulfilling (86%) and less likely to feel stressed or burnt out from work (41%), according to the results of the survey. ‘investigation.

Managers can publicize resources and encourage their use around mental health programs. Additionally, they can model good behaviors and habits, not only setting the right expectations for work-life balance, but also giving employees permission to put their mental health first. . Good mental health leadership (i.e. limiting communication after hours) makes adoption of these behaviors more likely throughout the organization.

2. Make free time a top priority

A culture and management style that prioritizes well-being and growth, alongside traditional business drivers such as profit and performance, is essential for the post-pandemic workforce. Fifty-seven percent of all workers — including 66 percent of those who want to quit — would be likely to keep a job if it offered more mental health services.

In addition to providing access to mental health care, employers should foster environments that allow workers time to rest and rejuvenate. In fact, nearly 3 in 4 workers (74%) say more paid time off, such as mental health days, would make them consider staying in their jobs. Although it is not possible to offer extra days, consider whether your employees are making full use of their allocated holidays or PTOs and set an example as managers that these days are essential to your own work balance. -personal life.

3. Start conversations with “how are you?”

You can encourage the conversation about mental health by exercising genuine care and empathy. This simple phrase can help you connect with your team members and provide a way to discuss all the resources you provide as well as encourage employees to use them. Each employee is unique and will benefit from different resources and approaches. For example, Gen Z employees and working parents are among the most exhausted in offices (73% and 53%, respectively). But working parents struggling to balance work and parenthood will need different kinds of assistance than Gen Z employees who may find learning while working remotely an isolating experience. There is no single solution.

4. Provide mental health training

Employees benefit greatly from workplace mental health training. This familiarizes them with the tools to manage their mental health and helps normalize mental health conversations within the company. Empowering employees to maximize their mental health benefits is a win-win situation for employers and workers.

Employers who adequately support employee wellbeing are more likely to see positive impacts on productivity, time management, and other key factors that lead to better workplace outcomes and employee retention. To keep pace, employers will need to listen to employees, be receptive to change, and come up with new ways to support employee success and mental well-being.

Here’s the bottom line: prioritizing mental health in the workplace is here to stay, and it’s up to employers to act and respond in the moment — not just for the good of their company culture, but for their bottom lines as well.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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