This post is also available in: Arabic
As a leader, if you assume that your employees’ mental health is none of your business, you’re wrong. Work-related mental health issues affect the well-being and productivity of your team members and can have a direct “negative” impact on your company culture. The good news is that you can take active steps to improve the mental health of your people so they can continue to be productive and happy. Here are some tips to help you build a mentally strong workplace.
- Understanding the root causes of mental instability 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 their own mental health, and decide accordingly what changes need to be made.
- Encourage work-life balance
Some managers still believe that the best employees are the ones who arrive early, work late, and reply instantly to their emails after working hours or during their vacations; however, it’s has been proven time and time again that focusing on work and ignoring the quality of one’s personal life causes employee burnout and hurts the company on 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
Plan and hold Mental Health Awareness sessions for 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 also be educated about the early signs of mental health problems and they need to be trained on how to respond appropriately.
- Focus on daily communication and support
While awareness and training sessions are important, they are not enough, you need a long term sustainable plan that allows your employees to feel 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 to 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 from 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 while making sure that your employees are comfortable voicing their concerns and needs.