Mental health is important for all of us. It impacts our quality of life, performance at work, and overall wellbeing. Especially today’s time, after the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak, mental health has become a hot topic. Over 42% of people have stated that their psychological and emotional stability has declined. While observing these changes, many managers may face their employees suffering from severe anxiety, depression, trauma, burnouts, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Let’s understand the importance of the mental health of your employees.
What can leaders and managers do to support the mental health of their employees while creating a safe work environment and maintaining a positive atmosphere?
Connect and Check-in
Daily or weekly report check-in happened regularly and consistently. This has undeniable importance and yet after the pandemic, it became even harder to notice people’s struggle. Over 40% of employees globally have stated that they weren’t asked if they are doing ok. Their mental health, unfortunately, has declined by 38%. That is sad news and the manager has to step in to change these numbers!
Sometimes simple questions like: ‘How are you?’ may not be enough. It is essential to show that the person can get help so using sentences like: ‘How can I support you?’ might make a big difference. Also, patience for the answer – is even more important. This type of communication will ensure the employee that he is safe to share his problems and even get a helping hand in solving them.
In a similar vein:
Recognise Employee's Efforts and Work
Being recognised for our work is a strong and straightforward experience that can encourage engagement with our work. In a BrightTALK-hosted webinar led by Dr Natalie Baumgartner, being socially recognised for the work you conduct at least once per month was noted as being a valuable experience, that can be provided in various ways, for supporting the wellbeing of employees. From points-based system to encourage employees to recognise the efforts of others, to a general compliments system being run without incentive; but simply running on goodwill and empathy, like the parallel to a complaints system.
This was an approach taken in a workplace setting of this writer in the care industry. Employees were encouraged to note and compliment other staff members on their roles, approaches to work and attitude. Not only did this encourage engagement from the team members towards their roles, but also helped the team to feel more cohesive and supportive, and encourage the development of continual professional development.
Every situation is complex and unique for each person. Business efforts and results are important but staying a human – will guarantee it. Managers and leaders have to keep and train the empathy levels and deal with situations accordingly. Stressors such as childcare, miscarriages, cancer treatments, and many more require exceptional understanding and evaluation.
Proactive offers of flexibility will make employees feel understood and not discriminated against. As much as we want success in our career, our personal life traumas and events jump the queue. Be patient and let your people breathe without additional work stress and pressure.
Don’t Be Scared To Be Vulnerable
We are all human and no matter our position in the workplace, we face life discomforts. Sharing what you are going through might open the door to others. This creates a comfortable and safe place for others to speak up and be understood. Communication goes both ways and you, as a leader, hold the power to enable it. One of the great examples was the #Let’s Talk campaign inviting people to share their point of view of mental health. It was a great tool to raise awareness and support about mental health.
Overall, we were used to keeping our personal lives to ourselves and learn to put a mask on when ‘clocking in’. But do we really have to be ashamed of our own lives and struggles? In the end, that’s what makes us all stronger, transparent, and even inspired. So why not help each other and make a workplace a safe, supporting, and inspiring place to go to! That would create strong relations, connections that eventually bring profit and higher value.
Baumgartner, N. and Yorke, B., 2022. (APAC) Empowering Employee Wellbeing to Avoid the Turnover Tsunami. [online] BrightTALK. Available at: https://www.brighttalk.com/webcast/19206/550045 Accessed: August 2022.
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