Mental Health is good for business

Creating a mentally healthy workplace has many benefits for both employees and employers. And a well-designed workplace should support individual mental health, the same way it should support physical illness. Why is it so important?

Firstly, we must understand what mental health is when we look at it across a full spectrum – not just as a diagnosed condition. Everyone’s mental health varies throughout their lives, for some that may happen daily. Mental health is about being cognitively, emotionally, and socially healthy. It’s the way we think, feel, and develop relationships, and not merely the absence of a diagnosed mental health condition. 

It’s complex. It’s often unseen. For a workplace to ensure all its employees thrive, it is not enough to wait for someone to be seen or heard. A workplace should be an environment that supports employees to thrive, be productive, enjoy being at work and be fully engaged. No mental health issue should ever be viewed as a reason someone cannot flourish in their working environment. So, what are some things we can do to help employees thrive?

Communicate 

Communication is key in most areas of business and when it comes to mental health, it is crucial. 

  • Create an environment that encourages people to get to know each other and feel connected. 
  • Introduce regular check-ins and go beyond asking ‘how are you. Ask specific questions about employees’ work, their experiences, and their feelings. Listen and give them space to answer – or not! They may not want to share, but if you keep showing an interest, they will be more likely to down the road. 

The more you talk, the more likely it will be that you will be able to identify any signs of stress.

Don’t be afraid to bring up issues related to stress, depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness. The clearer it’s made that everyone struggles in some way, shape, or form, the more likely people will feel comfortable talking about it themselves. Dispelling any stigma around these issues will benefit everyone.

Work / Life Balance

Promoting a healthy work/life balance is important. The days of arriving early and leaving late to show your commitment and hard work, are over. And praising people for working long hours does not promote healthy behaviours and will be damaging to a business in the long term. Without a healthy work/life balance, productivity will decline, and employees will burn out.

Ensure your employees take their leave so they can rest and unplug. Encourage employees to have hobbies, be healthy, and take time for themselves. And, model the healthy behaviour you wish to see in your employees!

Commit to long-term wellbeing

There is always more to do to keep a workplace engaged, happy & healthy. Don’t stop looking for ways to support your employees. 

  • Share articles, links, and any free services you find that may be useful. 
  • Seek feedback from your employees about what you could do better. 
  • Set some business goals around mental health support and share them with your employees. 

Positively managing mental health underpins good employee engagement and benefits everyone – employees, employers, and the bottom line. In a nutshell, it’s good for business.

© 2020 by NT Mason and Co Limited.