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Why It Makes Sense to Manage Workplace Mental Health

These days, everyone’s mental health is on the edge. Even before the pandemic, people are becoming more vocal about their mental health struggles. Millennials and Gen Z, the largest cohort and the youngest generation in today’s workforce, are normalizing mental health issues. They are demanding businesses to rethink how they manage their workforce and are pushing for better benefits to help them thrive better in the workplace. With the pandemic increasing everyone’s stress, it only makes sense that businesses find ways better to address their leaders’ and employees’ mental health.

Why Managing Workplace Mental Health Matters

There are many reasons why addressing your employees’ mental health is crucial in today’s world. For one, two of the largest and youngest generations in today’s workforce are lonely, stressed out, and depressed. Their financial insecurities, dependence on technology, and high stress at work make them susceptible to developing mental health issues. Millennials and Gen Zers value their mental health, which is why many of them opted to quit their jobs because of mental health issues.  If their companies are not open to accommodate their mental health needs, they would rather look for another company that values their mental health. To pursue work-life balance and a healthier state of mind, many millennials and Gen Zs are either working as freelancers or creating their own career opportunities. Many entrepreneurs, business owners, and company leaders are stressed and burned out. According to an article published in Harvard Business Review, half of the CEOs surveyed are lonely, while 61% claim their loneliness negatively affects their performance. In a separate study, 86% of employees want their company’s culture to support their mental health.

The Costs of Taking Workforce Mental Health for Granted

Even when presented with facts showing a need to address workforce mental health, many companies still fall short and chose to turn a blind eye. The result is, to say the least, both costly and devastating. Mental illness causes both leaders and employees to be less effective, inefficient, and less productive. They can feel lonely and depressed, thus leading to low employee morale. This affects their performance and the team’s overall performance rating. Leaders and employees struggling with poor mental health can experience physical signs of stress, like back pain, headaches, sleep issues, and digestive problems. This often leads to many employees missing days of work and a higher cost of additional training. Some employees will have difficulty completing tasks on time, while others will no longer have the motivation to continue working and eventually lead to a high turnover rate.

Addressing Mental Health in the Workplace

A psychiatrist can help you create the best plan to address workplace mental health. They can help train managers to spot signs of mental health decline in both leaders and employees. With a professional, you, your company leaders, and employees can turn to for free. They will have better peace of mind knowing they have someone they can share their struggles without worrying about the extra expenses. There must be a solid mental health policy in place. This way, everyone gets to know what they need to do if they feel like their mental health is starting to affect their personal and professional life. Resources should be ready, and initiatives that support improved mental health are crucial for your plan’s success. Offer your employees options that support their mental health. This can start by giving them a dedicated space where they can relax and unwind at the office. Think of nap rooms, pantries filled with nutritious food items, and an outdoor garden/balcony where they can enjoy fresh air and sunlight. Encourage your staff to use their paid sick leaves to take mental health days. It is also a good idea to offer them numerous attractive benefits that can help them recover from mental illness while still being a part of your company. This includes the following tactics.
  • Free memberships to a local gym
  • Create a culture of mental health positivity
  • Offer flexible work schedule or remote work opportunities
  • Provide a robust health insurance policy with their families covered
  • Mental health coverage to make resources more readily available
  • 401K matching to help employees have better peace of mind about their retirement
  • Annual leave purchase which allows employees to buy extra days off by spending part of the annual salary
Mental health in the workplace is not a new issue. But as employees and company leaders expect organizations to better care for workplace mental health, it is a must that business owners and entrepreneurs committed to their employee’s needs. Don’t ignore your staff’s and leaders’ mental health, or else your business will suffer in the long run.
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