Five ways to support your employees’ mental health
Work culture can have a huge impact on someone’s mental health. With 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health problem each year, it’s essential to make sure employee health is being well cared for.
Studies suggest that mental illness costs UK businesses around £35 billion every year due to sick leave, a lack of productivity and mentally unwell employees having to leave their role. Luckily, these issues can easily be resolved with just a few mental health measures in place.
But how should you begin to support your employees?
Everyone should feel able to express their concerns and suggestions for improvement whilst at work.
A study by UK charity Mind found that one in five people didn’t feel comfortable telling their boss that work was proving to be too stressful. What begins as easily-resolved stress can easily become chronic worry and anxiety. That’s why it’s so important to deal with these issues as soon as possible.
When employees know that they can raise issues at work with their manager or supervisor, this creates a more open and supportive environment. Showing that you’re willing to support your employees through mental struggles makes it more likely for them to disclose mental health issues without fear of discrimination.
Regular check-ins with your workers are also a must. Start the conversation now by asking what your employees need and being receptive to their ideas. If they’re uncomfortable speaking up, you might try a suggestions box where they can raise concerns anonymously.
Offer flexible working
A study held by Wildgoose found that 39% of people experienced better mental health as a result of hybrid working.
Providing more flexible ways of working helps your employees to achieve a better work/life balance, which is essential for good mental health. If possible, you could allow remote working for a couple of days a week, and let employees choose their work hours within a certain window of time.
Flexible hours acknowledge the individual needs of your workforce and help people to work around life responsibilities such as caring duties, essential appointments and childcare. They also prove that your company is an adaptable and forward-thinking place to work.
The advantages of flexible working include:
- Your company will be more attractive for new talent.
- Increased job satisfaction for current employees.
- Reduced number of staff absences.
- Higher levels of productivity.
- Less time spent commuting.
Review company policies
What wellbeing policies does your company have in place, and are they working?
It’s essential to regularly review your company’s policies to make sure they’re still effective and up-to-date. Ensure that HR policies are regularly updated to accommodate the mental health needs of your workers and ask what your employees would like to see more of in their place of work.
When evaluating your policies, it can be helpful to ask yourself and your team the following questions:
- Are your policies inclusive?
- Do you provide enough holiday for your staff?
- Are your employees’ working hours reasonable?
- Do you have ways of supporting and reducing employee stress?
If you answered “no” to the last question, you might consider an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). An EAP is a confidential service that supports the psychological health and wellbeing of your workforce, providing access to mental health professionals and resources. By introducing an EAP, you’re showing that you care about your employees and the environment in which they work.
Provide mental health training
Having qualified mental health first aiders allows you to spot the first signs of mental health issues in your employees. Although it’s not yet compulsory to have psychological first aid in the workplace, it’s only by treating mental wellbeing with as much importance as physical wellbeing that we can break the stigma around mental health issues.
As with conventional first aid training, mental health first aiders will take a course to become qualified. This includes:
- Learning how to spot the first signs of mental struggle.
- Gaining the knowledge and confidence to support someone in mental distress.
- Understanding the stigmas surrounding mental illness and how to challenge these.
- Awareness on how to take care of their own wellbeing, in addition to other people’s.
Mental health first aid is a long-term investment in the wellbeing of your company and its people. As with physical first aid, it’s important to have people at different levels of the company trained and ready to help when needed, such as line managers and supervisors.
The advantages aren’t just for your team either – with the knowledge and training from a Mental Health first aid course under your belt, you’ll also be in a better position to meet the Government’s recommended standards for a healthy workplace as in their ‘Thriving at Work’ report.
If you’re unsure where to start, MHFA England offers mental health first aid courses, which take place either online or face-to-face.
Make wellbeing resources available
Having a mental health toolkit available for your employees is a must. Not only does providing free resources show that you care about their wellbeing, but it can be a preventative measure to save expenses and challenges further down the line.
Mental health support can include:
- Team-building days to boost employee morale, improve relationships and take time out of the work environment.
- Leaflets and booklets for employees to educate themselves on mental health.
- A healthcare plan which includes access to mental health services.
- A subscription to a wellbeing app or service such as Ed can Help.
Are you ready to take the first step towards better employee mental health? Ed can Help you to make a start.
Our monthly therapy app subscription is a simple and affordable way to improve workplace wellbeing. With each subscription, employees will have infinite access to sound-based therapy sessions, whenever and wherever they need them.
Ed can Help with a range of issues from everyday stress to anxiety and depression. All you and your employees need is a quiet space and a pair of headphones. Our app will do the rest.
Contact our team to get started today.