How to promote mental health in the workplace
Mental health is hugely important to all of us, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to talk about. This is especially true in the workplace.
Managers and leaders worry that their desire to help will come across as intrusive, inappropriate, or patronising. In reality, promoting mental health at work can be extremely effective and leads to the creation of amazing, supportive teams.
The simple fact is that promoting mental health does help, despite the difficulties. Let’s look at some of the ways to make effective mental health interventions.
How managers can promote mental health in the workplace
Have clear health and safety guidelines at work
Health and safety guidelines aren’t just for hazardous workplaces and they’re not just about physical risks. Consider the mental health challenges your workplace might create and have policies to mitigate those.
For example, public-facing employees need clear rules about not tolerating abuse from customers. Offer guidance on what staff should do if they’re starting to feel overwhelmed at work.
Consider an employee assistance programme
Employee assistance programs (EAPs) provide your employees with access to important services, such as legal advice, counselling, and debt-management support. These can be invaluable for staff who are struggling with their mental health.
Make sure that you promote your EAP regularly. Employees who are floundering might not remember the support that’s available to them.
Give managers and senior staff mental health training
At Paws in Work, we believe that all employees can benefit from mental health training. That said, there’s a definite benefit to starting with managers and senior staff.
Anyone who is responsible for other people in the workplace needs to understand the different types of mental health problems that their teams might struggle with. Even more importantly, they need to know what they can do to help.
Our mental health first aid training gives them that knowledge — and the confidence to use it.
Managers can help employees to manage their mental health by being flexible to their needs. When staff request adjustments such as changing their working location or hours, the default assumption should be to be flexible unless this will cause significant problems for other team members.
... But set firm boundaries
Flexibility is often important, but there are times when it’s even more valuable to have firm boundaries. Often, these are around your employees’ personal time.
Have clear guidelines explaining that employees shouldn’t be answering emails outside of working hours and that they’re not expected to be available or “on call" during weekends or time off.
Guidelines alone aren’t enough. Show your employees that you take these rules seriously by following them yourselves. Managers and senior staff need to lead by example.
Know what your employees want and need for their mental health
Your employees are the experts in their own mental health, so make sure that you listen to them. Run a survey to understand what will help them the most.
At Paws in Work, we found that quarterly “wellbeing days” for staff to take time off and do something for their mental health have been incredibly valuable. Ask your teams for their suggestions.
Hold regular mental health-focused events
Devote time to talking about mental health in the workplace. Arrange training with experts, info sessions and seminars, and even something fun and relaxing like puppy therapy!
Paws in Work can help you promote mental health in your office
When it comes to mental health in the workplace, none of us need to go it alone… including managers. There are great resources and assistance available.
For the best outcomes for your staff, let Paws in Work be your employee wellbeing provider. We offer training, support, and wellbeing experiences to help your employees manage their mental health and create a robust and happy team.
How to develop a successful workplace wellbeing strategy
! We’re here to guide you on factors to consider when implementing a wellbeing strategy at your workplace. If you’re just beginning your company’s wellbeing journey, here are some suggestions to kick-start your campaign.