This post is also available in: العربية
As a leader, if you assume that an employee’s mental health is none of your business then let’s correct you because you’re wrong! The way your employees think and feel affects their well-being, engagement, and productivity. The well-being of your employees has an impact on the well-being of the entire company.
Mental illness in the workplace will cost you a lot of money, but you can take steps to improve the mental health of your employees so they can stay as healthy as possible. Here are some tips that can help you build a mentally healthy workplace.
- Understanding the causes of mental illness in your workplace
First of all, you should identify the main factors that might be negatively affecting the mental health of your employees such as long working hours, stressful workloads, unrealistic deadlines, lack of appreciation, or toxic coworkers. Assess how your employees think and feel when it comes to mental health, and decide accordingly what changes can be made.
- Encourage work-life balance
Some managers still believe that the best employees are the ones who arrive early, work late, and reply directly to their emails after the working hours or in their vacations; however, it’s proven now that focusing on work and ignoring the quality of personal life causes employee burnout and hurts the company in the long run. Those who have comfortable and interesting lives outside of the office make better employees.
- Raise awareness about mental health in the workplace
Awareness sessions shall be provided to both leaders and employees. Employees should understand that they can clearly discuss any issues related to anxiety, stress, and depression, and that the company will help them overcome these issues with full respect to their privacy and confidentiality. Leaders should be also educated about the signs of mental health problems and trained on how to respond appropriately.
- Focus on daily communication and support
Awareness and training sessions are important but not enough, you need a long term commitment where employees feel continually heard and supported. Encourage regular one-on-ones between managers and employees where they can openly discuss any issues.
- Prevent any kind of discrimination and bullying
Discrimination and bullying can trigger serious mental issues in the workplace. It’s your responsibility as a leader to build a work environment that has zero tolerance with any kind of bullying or discrimination. Make sure all employees are treated fairly and equally.
- Reduce the stigma
Employees who feel anxious or depressed might be unintentionally, or sometimes intentionally, isolated and ignored by other coworkers. Therefore, it’s highly important to reduce the stigma around mental health. The optimal way to reduce the stigma is to talk openly about mental health issues and make sure employees are comfortable voicing their concerns and needs.