Addressing Mental Health Challenges In Your Workforce Should Be a Top Priority
A company’s workforce can be its most important asset, and to protect that asset, California employers need to support the mental health of employees. The stress, anxiety, uncertainty, and challenges that everyone has faced during these two pandemic years make it more vital than ever that businesses redouble their efforts at promoting mental health for their workers.
Until the upheaval caused by COVID-19, many businesses may not have even thought about their employees’ psychological well-being or how their work environment and responsibilities could negatively affect their attitude and outlook. But this oversight is no longer sustainable if businesses want to keep talented employees, make them more consistently productive, reduce absenteeism, and increase effective collaboration. Simply put, a mentally fit workforce helps companies thrive and improves their bottom lines.
Why Your Business Should Support The Mental Health of Employees
Considering the number of hours your employees spend each week in the same office or interacting with the same people, it is no surprise that the atmosphere of that office and the nature of those interactions will have an impact on mental health. And if your workplace is one of constant stress, negativity, and crisis, or if coworkers or managers act oppressively, disrespectfully, or indifferently, the environment will eventually take its toll on morale and mental health. Working at a place that sees its employees as faceless worker bees who have no value outside of what they get done on any given day can be dehumanizing and depressing to even the most enthusiastic personalities.
Talented employees are more likely to leave these workplaces, leaving behind the employees who are unhappy, unmotivated, and unlikely to perform at their best. Employees who endure such a toxic atmosphere are also much more likely to develop psychological and physical health problems that lead to lost productivity and increased absenteeism.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental health issues comprise half of the leading causes of disability worldwide. This lost productivity results in an estimated $1 trillion loss to the global economy each year.
You Might Like: What is Employee Group Health Insurance?
Signs You May Need To Do More To Support The Mental Health of Employees
If you are wondering if you need to do more to support the mental health of your employees, try doing some self-analysis of your business using these guidelines from the WHO study mentioned above:
- Are the health and safety policies in my business adequate for industry standards and the circumstances of my employees?
- Do the supervisors in my company possess the management skills that promote good communication practices?
- Do my employees feel they have limited control over one’s work and few opportunities to participate in decision-making?
- Is my company guilty of providing minimal (or worse, non-existent) levels of support for employees?
- Is there a strong sense of social support and team cohesion in the workplace?
- Can we improve flexibility in working hours, remote work, or flex-time?
- Do bullying and harassment occur within the workplace at any level?
- Are my employees clear on their job responsibilities and the organization’s objectives?
If your analysis reveals that your company has traits of a toxic work environment, take action! Even small steps, like Bagel Tuesday or another act of employee appreciation, can boost the morale and thus the mental outlook of your employees. And don’t stop there. Put the mental health of your employees on your front burner with the following tips.
Ways California Employers Can Support The Mental Health of Employees
Southern California businesses can create a mentally healthy workplace through respect, participation, autonomy, and support. To establish such a positive environment, your company can consider some or all of the following adjustments to existing policies and approaches:
- Educate employees about harmful (and often illegal) workplace conduct such as discrimination, harassment, and bullying and implement robust policies to address such behavior and help victimized employees.
- Recognize and reward employees both financially and otherwise with performance-based bonuses and pay raises, profit-sharing, and employee awards programs. Even a simple “thanks” or “keep up the good work” can go a long way.
- Empower your employees by increasing their participation in decision-making and giving them more autonomy.
- Offer employees opportunities for continuing professional education, skills development, and leadership training.
- Provide time management and stress management courses.
- Plan fun and stress-relieving team-building activities or outings, and encourage your employees and managers to participate.
- Establish flexible work scheduling, flex time, and other policies that help employees manage the demands they face both at and away from work.
- Encourage employees to get enough sleep.
- Create employee assistance programs, provide mental health resources, and make it clear that there is no stigma or negative consequences for seeking help.
- Enroll in group health insurance plans that help workers with stress management, weight loss, and smoking cessation programs, all of which can improve an employee’s outlook and attitude.
California Businesses that Support the Mental Health of Employees Reap Long-Term Benefits
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, stated that “good mental health is absolutely fundamental to overall health and well-being.” Helping Southern California residents find the right individual and group health insurance to support their physical and mental health is at the heart of what we do at Preferred Insurance.