Minding Employees’ Mental Health

Michael is a human resource consultant with Insperity. He specializes in team building, employee engagement and performance improvement. getty Dealing with personal and professional stresses can be difficult for many working adults. Factoring in the pandemic, the country saw a rise in adults suffering from anxiety or depression. Though increased awareness […]

Michael is a human resource consultant with Insperity. He specializes in team building, employee engagement and performance improvement.

Dealing with personal and professional stresses can be difficult for many working adults. Factoring in the pandemic, the country saw a rise in adults suffering from anxiety or depression. Though increased awareness of mental health issues came to the attention of business leaders during the peak of the pandemic, it is an ongoing issue that should remain a focus for employers as many return to office life.

For company leaders, it is important to be conscious of employees’ mental health. Awareness, early detection and treatment of mental health issues can improve overall employee well-being and prevent a crisis.

There are several practical ways leadership can ensure employee mental health and well-being are regularly addressed.

Remind Employees Of Benefits

Throughout the years, companies have adopted more resources for employee mental health, including employee assistance programs (EAPs). EAP resources can provide support for people dealing with personal and work-related stresses. Some other benefits that have become popular during the pandemic include meditation programs, fitness apps and online nutrition services, all of which can help improve overall mental and physical wellness.

However, some employees may not realize or have forgotten the company offers these services. It is important to regularly remind all employees of the programs, their importance and how easy it is to use them. This can be accomplished by sending emails, adding it to the company newsletter or even posting printed flyers in the common areas and the hallways.

“Lunch and Learns” with a focus on managing stress and mental health is another resource company leadership can offer. Along with offering another opportunity to talk about a company’s EAP, these lunch activities can potentially help employees find others who are dealing with similar issues. They may feel more comfortable talking to a peer instead of a company leader regarding their personal struggles.

Be An Empathetic Leader

Leadership should be tuned into employees’ attitudes and work performance. Should those drop from normal levels, it is important as a leader to sit down with the employee to talk and ensure there is nothing wrong. Servant leaders understand these work performance discussions present opportunities to plant health and wellness seeds. Balancing accountability with empathy epitomizes respect while deepening trust.

When it comes to divulging their problems, employees may not always feel comfortable talking about what they may be facing. Letting them know there is someone listening while showing care and concern can make a positive difference in their lives.

Managers can also help an employee by being vulnerable themselves. A leader discussing the struggles they encounter due to work-related or personal stressors can help an employee feel like they are not alone. It might prompt them to speak more about their problems knowing they have a supervisor who has faced similar issues.

Set A Good Example

Employees may feel their work ethic needs to match that of their supervisor to earn their place at a company. However, that manager could be setting the wrong example by overworking themselves and ignoring their own mental health.

Companies elevating the importance of mental health need to make sure their leaders are not on a path to burnout as well. Managers need to take breaks during the day and detach from the office after hours. This includes avoiding email late at night and especially while on paid time off (PTO). When managers email at odd hours, do not take PTO or work through their time off, it sends the wrong message.

A manager should communicate with their employees about burnout and encourage workers to take PTO. When employees take time to recharge, they can quash burnout or added stress before it becomes a serious issue.

Be Accommodating

Once an issue has been brought to the attention of leadership, depending on its severity, the employee may need help managing their workload or time off.

If a manager sees an employee is too stressed or overwhelmed with work-related issues, they should find ways to ease the burden. This may include decreasing their workload, pushing deadlines back to a later date or adjusting their position to a more fitting role.

Should the issue go beyond work-related stress, encourage them to take a break. That may involve working from home for a few days or encouraging personal time off. Companies should be accommodating and let workers know their mental health is of the utmost importance.

Ensuring an employee feels like they are more than just a number to a company can help a person in need and set a good example for the rest of the employees should similar situations arise with them.


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https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2022/01/03/minding-employees-mental-health/

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