60 percent of employees say they’d feel more motivated and more likely to recommend their organisation as a good place to work if their employer took action to support mental wellbeing.
Mental health, just like physical health, moves up and down along a spectrum from good to poor. Considering how much time people spend at work, it is not surprising that workplace environment and culture affect their wellbeing. Organisations perform better when staff are healthy, motivated and focused. Research consistently shows that when employees feel their work is meaningful and they are valued and supported, they tend to have higher wellbeing levels, be more committed to the company’s goals and perform better too.
By supporting staff wellbeing, companies can reap the benefits of enhanced morale, loyalty, commitment, innovation, productivity and profitability. In other words, open and supportive workplaces benefit everyone – employees, employers and the bottom line.
Provide mental health training and support
Employers must be able to support members of staff suffering from common mental health issues such as stress, depression and anxiety. 20% of working-age adults report having a mental health illness, yet many are unsure if their company offers any mental health resources.
That’s why it is important to have a company-wide mental health plan that is clearly communicated to everyone in the business. Leaders should encourage open and positive communication around the topic of mental health, removing the stigma that may be attached to it.
It would also be beneficial to invest in an Employee Assistance Programme designed to help employees with any personal or work-related issues they may have. These programmes can be provided in-house or externally and almost all of them contain some form of counselling.
Another great way to provide mental health support is utilising technology and offering licensed counsellors on call, meditation platforms and virtual education for employees to learn coping mechanisms and stress management.
Create a culture of reward and recognition
Creating a culture that focuses on recognising good work and placing positive communication as a priority in the workplace, allows employers to regularly let individuals know that their efforts are appreciated and don’t go unnoticed.
When social wellbeing needs are fulfilled, employees are happier and more productive which in turn benefits the business.
Encourage friendships between colleagues
People spend so much time at work, they see their co-workers more than their partners and families. When they don’t make friends at work, the office can feel like a lonely place, it can even lead to employees leaving the company.
Building bonds and friendships at work is vital for people to feel supported. Those who work in a team with friends also tend to work harder as they feel accountable to their teammates and friends. This improves productivity, performance and enjoyment of work, which in turn leads to higher job satisfaction overall.
There are a number of ways leaders can encourage workplace friendships, including a buddy system for new starters and regular work social events to get the team together outside of work.
Assess your workplace environment
Workplace environment is hugely influential on how employees feel day-to-day. Leaders should think about every stage of their team’s day. Do they have comfortable working spaces? Is there enough natural light in the office? Does the break room have enough places to relax? Even small changes like a new coffee machine, a bigger sofa or free healthy snacks can really improve employee happiness and wellbeing.
Pass on financial knowledge
Monetary and financial issues are the second-largest source of stress in the UK with a quarter of adults worrying about money every single day.
Knowledge and education can make a positive difference to financial wellbeing. By helping employees understand budgeting, mortgages and loans, childcare costs and pensions, companies can provide them with the right tools to deal with financial issues and take the strain away, thus reducing stress and improving wellbeing.
Offer flexibility for a work-life balance
Employees often feel that professional obligation take precedence over personal ones which can have a negative impact on wellbeing. In the short-term long hours might seem manageable, but sustained pressure and a poor work-life balance can quickly lead to stress and burnout, reducing the levels of productivity, performance, creativity and morale.
Leaders can avoid this by focusing on targets and goals rather than hours worked and encouraging employees to work sensible times, take full lunch breaks, avoid working weekends and take their full annual leave entitlement.
Flexible working in terms of times, location or the pattern of working can also support healthier and more productive ways of working. For example, it can help an individual manage stress by allowing a later start twice a week to accommodate exercise.
Flexibility in the workplaces enables employees to fit their lives around their work, helping them remain healthy and focused. Employers on the other hand benefit from increased morale, commitment and productivity and reduced sickness absence.
Micromanagement leads to feelings of anxiety and depression at work, disengagement, lower motivation and decreased performance. Managers should encourage employees to think proactively and take responsibility for how they hit their targets and reach their goals.
This will not only improve employee wellbeing and engagement, it will also give managers more time to plan strategically and help employees with any blockers they might face.
Have a clear vision and communicate it
The concept of ‘vision’ can easily be dismissed as vague, but the best company leaders have a clear sense of purpose. However, it is not enough to have a vision. It must be shared with all employees, involving the whole company. Everyone should be able to relate to the vision statement and understand where they fit within it and the ways they can contribute. Being able to communicate the vision is vital to employee wellbeing and the success of the company because it gives individuals a sense of purpose and ownership toward the goal of the company as a whole.