We’ve discussed mental health on our blog previously, looking at the causes, symptoms and what you can do to either prevent poor mental health or improve your overall mental wellbeing.
But we’ve not yet looked at what can be done when it comes to improving mental health at work. Given the amount of time we spend working, employers have a duty to ensure all employees are happy!
What your manager can do
Giving employees a meaningful role where they can make decisions that have tangible benefits for the company is great for both employees and employers. When an employee feels like their contribution isn’t meaningful or appreciated it only serves to make any mental health problems worse.
On the flip side, an employee who feels empowered, valued and appreciated will be much more likely to be more proactive and engaged. That’s not to say that empowering employees will solve mental health problems 100% of the time, but along with other initiatives mentioned in this article, it’s a powerful thing.
If an employee is dealing with mental health problems, allowing flexible working can help them better manage their life and the situation they’ve found themselves in.
This could mean giving employees the ability to work flexible hours, the ability to work remotely or both.
How an employer chooses to offer this is up to them. It could be offered to employees on the whole or specifically to employees who are experiencing health problems, whether that be mental or physical. Either way, it’s a great way to support an employee who is going through a difficult time.
That said, it needs to be incorporated with other initiatives like the ones mentioned in this article.
Incorporate and implement an employee wellness strategy
An employee wellness strategy is a must for any company. When it comes to improving mental health at work, it’s a great place to start. This could involve stress management and mindfulness workshops for employees and training and coaching on resilience.
As part of their strategy companies could help build awareness among their staff of ways to combat poor mental health, like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for example. Simply making employees aware of the help that’s out there for them can go a long way.
A good place to start when building your strategy is to conduct an assessment of employees on what their needs, desires and goals are. There are loads of benefits to doing this and anything that helps a company better understand their employees is going to be good for the company.
By doing this, the company can better understand what motivates their employees and what makes them happy, as no two employees are the same. Managers can then see what they need to do to not only resolve mental health issues but prevent them as well.
Improving mental health at work with employee benefits
Employee Assistance Programme (EAP)
An EAP is a 24/7 service that’s totally confidential, providing help and advice for those with various different problems, whether it be medical, legal or health related.
Depending on the EAP itself, this support can be provided over the phone or face-to-face.
For companies, having this benefit is great but its really important that it’s communicated effectively and that not only are employees made aware that its available to them, but they’re made aware that its totally confidential and safe too. Not to mention that support is provided by experienced professionals.
Health cash plan and health assessments
Poor physical health directly contributes to poor mental health. Diet for example is hugely important. Not only can a bad diet cause obesity but it can also affect things like your hormone profile which can lead to mental health problems like depression and anxiety.
Getting your physical health in order is actually a great start when it comes to improving your mental health.
Gym scheme, Bike to Work Scheme etc.
Again, these schemes will help employees incorporate more exercise into their daily life. Studies have shown that exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication for treating mild to moderate depression. (Help Guide)
Exercise also contributes to a better overall physical wellbeing which in turn contributes to better long-term mental wellbeing.
When it comes to using employee benefits, implementing those that help with physical health is a good place to start. Diet and exercise can go a long way to improving mental health. If mental health issues still persist, benefits like the EAP are there to provide further support. It’s also important that your employer also does their bit in designing your job role to make it more autonomous etc. Along with an effective employee wellness strategy, these initiatives and employee benefits should hopefully help massively when it comes to improving mental health at work!
Looking for a comprehensive employee benefits platform? We’ve got you covered.