Mental wellbeing at work is one of the biggest HR challenges facing businesses. This has never been more true than at the moment, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Research shows that over 16 million people experience a mental health problem each year. Thankfully, more and more people are willing to talk openly about mental health struggles.

However, dealing with employee mental health in the workplace can be a struggle for employers. It’s not always clear what can be done about it and how it should be approached. It’s certainly a tricky subject to broach.

To help you gain a better understanding of mental health at work, why it matters so much, and what you can do to promote better mental health in the workplace, we’re going to discuss these issues below.

Happy and Healthy Employees Drive Success

From a business perspective, it makes perfect sense to pay more attention to the health and wellbeing of your employees because when they’re happy and mentally well-balanced, they drive the success of your business.

No business succeeds unless employees are invested in that success and performing to the best of their ability on a consistent basis. That’s how it works. But, it won’t work if you don’t pay attention to issues relating to mental health among your workforce in your workplace.

So, make sure this is something you start doing.

Employees Perform Better When They Feel Supported

It’s not just about ensuring people are mentally balanced and happy; it’s also about making them feel supported and happy each day. People like to know that their employer actually cares about them and how they’re feeling. It might seem like a small and insignificant thing, but it really isn’t.

You will get so much more out of each person in your team if you show them that support and let them know that you are doing what you can to help them with any mental health problems they might be experiencing.

People Come First

Even in the cut-throat world of business, people should always come first. When you ensure that people are looked after, the business side of things will soon follow on from there. Try to make sure that you take the needs of people seriously because it not only helps your business but also improves its wider reputation.

The best people want to work for the businesses that value their employees and put people first, so adopting this mindset could really benefit your company long-term.

Promote Positive Mental Wellbeing at Work

Start with Dialogue

One of the most important things you can do for your employees is make it clear that it’s alright to talk about mental health. Opening that dialogue and encouraging discussions can make a really big difference, and this most certainly shouldn’t be dismissed if you’re serious about making your workplace somewhere that people feel protected and safe.

If people can’t even talk about mental health issues, your business is already failing to deal with mental health needs in the right way.

Hold Mental Wellness Sessions

Holding specific sessions that allow people to discuss these topics is also helpful. It’s not just about people discussing their own experiences either; they can also be about sharing advice on how to cope with stress, pressure and anxiety in the workplace.

People have all kinds of struggles, both major and minor. By giving people help and advice on how to maintain a healthy mental balance, you might be able to prevent them from developing bigger mental health struggles further down the line.

Work to Prevent Excessive Stress and Anxiety in the Workplace

The way in which your business operates will have an impact on how stressed out and under pressure people feel. A survey on Stress: Are We Coping? found that 74% of people have at some point felt so stressed that they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.

You can very easily take steps to reduce that pressure and not pile work on employees if it is starting to cause them strain and stress. Being more aware of how your employees are dealing with the workload that’s been given to them will make a big difference, so it’s something that you should most certainly give some thought to if you haven’t already.

By tackling stress in the workplace, a business can go a long way in preventing issues such as anxiety and depression.

Offer Benefits That Support Positive Mental Health

Employee assistance programmes are often used as an employment perk by many businesses these days. These programmes provide specific support from physical and mental health professionals to employees who need the support. It’s always there and it’s confidential, so people don’t have to hide things if they don’t want to discuss them openly with the business’ management structure. It’s something that you should most definitely think about putting in place for your business. It could make a big difference in how you deal with mental health issues at work.

Promote Good Health and Nutrition

Not everyone realises it but promoting good health and general healthy eating and nutrition impacts mental health too. If you can encourage people to live healthily and eat a nutritious diet, you will improve their physical and mental health. Of course, it’s not for you to tell your employees how to live their lives, but you can give them healthy eating options in the workplace and give people incentives to do things like cycle to work. These kinds of ideas are pretty commonplace in many workplaces these days.

Offer a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is something that people struggle with on a regular basis. When people don’t have a good balance between their home life and their work life, they tend to feel more stressed, anxious and ultimately depressed. That’s obviously not how anyone wants to live, so it’s up to you to make sure you allow people to leave their work at work and not place pressure on them to take their work home with them. It’ll help them feel more energetic and productive when they are at work too.

Mental health is important to your employees’ overall health and happiness, and that means it’s also important to your business. Make the most of the information and ideas that have been outlined here and carry them forward as your business grows.

Learn More about Mental Wellbeing at Work

Read further into the topic of mental health in the workplace with our other blogs:

Equip your Team to Address Mental Health at Work

Mental Health in the Workplace Guide Published

A Basic Guide for Managers: Addressing Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace