Do you suspect that your staff are struggling with mental health issues? Here are four ways to offer your support
It’s becoming increasingly important to think about the mental health of your employees. Staff wellbeing can impact productivity, it can affect the volume and quality of work that your company produces.
One in four people are currently suffering from mental health issues, which means there could be people in your workplace with a condition that may affect their work.
In this article, we’ve shared four ways that businesses can demonstrate their support of mental health, as well as tips for managing absence in the workplace due to these issues:
1. Talk positively about mental health
Because of the stigma that has previously been attached to mental health, your staff may be reluctant to discuss their issues with you. However, encouraging talking positively and openly about mental health in the office will reinforce their confidence that you understand their issue and can offer support.
You may notice changes in your staff members over a certain period. If you suspect that they’re suffering with a mental health issue, encouraging them to be open and honest about their struggle is vital.
This open and relaxed approach to discussing mental health means that your employees are more likely to come to you with their concerns, should they have any, and it is a great way to get to the root cause of the issue and put appropriate support measures in place.
2. Have conversations with your staff
Once you’ve implemented this technique and enforced that you’re able to offer support, a member of your staff may come and discuss their mental health issue with you. However, you may struggle to approach the conversation with them – especially if you haven’t experienced the issue yourself.
These discussions should always take place in a private place where staff can discuss their mental health with you as they may be concerned about their co-workers overhearing. Employers and managers should never be judgemental or make assumptions. Wherever possible, offer flexible resolutions to help their work life become more manageable.
Depending on the severity of the issue, you could also consider encouraging your employee to seek professional health care.
Companies such as Health Assured offer employee wellness programmes and health assessments to improve the mental health of employees.
3. Create chill-out areas or quiet work spaces
Having quieter areas in the office gives those who are struggling the opportunity to relax and clear their mind. Considering that many workplace environments are fast-paced and full of chattering co-workers, offering quiet workspace areas for your staff can be a fantastic way to support their mental health.
4. Consider allowing time off
Unfortunately, it’s not just your staff’s personal life that can be affected by poor mental health. In fact, many symptoms of anxiety and depression will impact their ability to work well. Consider allowing time off if a member of staff is struggling to cope. Where appropriate being flexible with sick absences is a great way to do this.
You could also offer compassionate leave when your employee is attending counselling or therapy sessions, which will enable them to get professional help for their mental health without impacting their quality of work.
Working from home is another alternative that could be encouraged and may be more suitable for staff with social-related issues.
It’s important to show your staff that you, and your business, are supportive of mental health. Encouraging your employees to speak up about any struggles that they face can be more beneficial for your company in the long-term, especially when considering that healthy and happy staff are more productive and they will have better job satisfaction.
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