Employees who are healthy and engaged at work are more likely to be satisfied and productive. As the global crisis persists, however, mental health among employees frays. According to recent research by Corndel, 42% of worldwide employees’ mental health has deteriorated since the pandemic began. While organizations have been increasing support on workplace mental health prior to the Coronavirus, such efforts are even more critical today.
Why Mental Health Matters
Managers who prioritize their workforce’s mental health create a supportive environment in which employees are motivated to give their best performance. Low employee turnover level is also among the benefits of cultivating a company culture that focuses on mental health. Even in the most uncertain circumstances, managers’ duty remains the same: to assist their team members. Putting it into practice, here are some insights on how you can support employees’ mental health.
Reach Out and Listen
With most individuals working from home these days, it might be even more difficult to tell that someone is struggling. In a survey by HBR with Qualtrics and SAP, over 40% of employees globally reported no one at their workplace had asked them if they were okay. These respondents were also 38% more likely than others to indicate their mental health had deteriorated since the pandemic, the survey found.
Leaders should go beyond a quick “How are you?” for the sake of a chit-chat. Go the extra miles and ask specific questions about what kind of support might be helpful. Instead of merely asking questions, engage in active listening and provide a safe place for employees to confide in. But be careful of becoming intrusive; this might indicate both a lack of trust and a desire to micromanage. You may not always know what to say or do when someone expresses their distress. They may not want to give much information, which is okay; all that matters is that they believe they can trust you.
Read Also: How to Manage Underperforming Employees
Provide Flexibility and Be Inclusive
Prolonged remote working that comes with the pandemic has changed the lives of many. Many people admitted they become more easily overwhelmed with social interaction nowadays. There are also cases where employees are accustomed to working from home because they have family members to take care of and have discovered a new way to work during odd hours. If your company is looking to gradually invite employees to work on-site, keep in mind that employees’ readiness should also be taken into account.
If possible, do your best to balance between keeping the company running while providing flexibility and inclusivity for employees. For jobs that can be done remotely in nature, such as graphic design, programming, and UI/UX, consider providing options for remote working. This is an inclusive act for working parents or those who still struggle to adapt during social settings. If their tasks can be finished regardless where they work, what is the harm of being inclusive in this way? Being inclusive and flexible can improve employees’ mental health for the long run.
Make Your Workplace Safe and Friendly
Employees value a working environment that is safe, surrounded by managers that set a realistic demand and tolerate minor mistakes. Managers who appreciate the chance to help employees in learning from errors will encourage employees to be upfront about areas where they are unsure, rather than pretending they can do everything. Managers that are concerned about mental health will place team members in roles that capitalize on each individual’s talents. This is not to say that people cannot learn and perform the essential functions of a job, but it does imply that leaders should assist employees in thriving within their areas of expertise.
At the end of the day, supporting employees’ mental health can only be done well if you care for your own mental health as an HR manager first. Employees will look up to you in terms of perceiving what a work life balance is and how to perceive productivity. In terms of mental health, it is important to showcase that being productive does not equal working relentlessly. Therefore, you need to set the bar as considerate as possible to ensure that business goals can go hand-in-hand with a healthy mental condition.