Mental health can affect your employees in a number of ways. When employees get stressed, job satisfaction, engagement and productivity all suffer. Find out how you can help promote mental health in the workplace to keep your employees happier.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way employers think about an array of business practices, including the importance of mental health in the workplace. The uncertainty of the pandemic — and the period of racial/social unrest that followed — have led to increased rates of mental health issues for Americans. In fact, as Boston College notes, reports of anxiety and depression were six times higher in November 2020 than they were in 2019.

So, how does mental health affect your team and how can you help? Here’s what you need to know about improving your employees’ mental wellbeing at work.

how does mental health affect employees?

Work performance is inextricably tied to mental health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), if a work environment is negative, it can lead to physical and mental health problems, which in turn, can result in issues like absenteeism and lost productivity.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also notes that poor mental health can reduce employee engagement, negatively impact communication with coworkers and inhibit employees’ physical capability and daily functioning.

ways to support employees

The pandemic era has been challenging for everyone, but there are some key ways you as an employer can help improve the mental wellbeing of your employees at work.

increase flexibility

First and foremost, promote flexibility. Rigid schedules can quickly increase employee stress, frustration, burnout and even turnover. Increasing flexibility is the easiest way to combat this. Consider implementing a permanent or hybrid remote work policy, a shortened work week or more flexible work hours.

improve work/life balance

Promoting a healthy work/life balance goes a long way in improving your employees’ overall mental health, largely because it makes it easier to balance the demands of home and the workplace. The flexible scheduling mentioned previously can certainly help here, as it offers employees more time and makes it easier to fit in things like childcare or errands into their daily schedules. You should also encourage employees not to work after hours and to take time off work to recharge.

offer more support

You yourself can play a critical role in helping your employees improve their mental health. Make healthy behaviors a priority for yourself and model them for your employees. This will show your team that mental health matters and that they should prioritize taking care of themselves. You should also focus on communication. Check in with team members regularly and — as much as they’re willing — encourage them to share how they’re feeling and any stress they may be experiencing so you can help.

enhance benefits

Another critical component of promoting mental health is employee benefits. In the wake of the pandemic, many companies have begun offering employee assistance programs (EAPs), which can connect employees with professional resources to help them deal with mental health struggles. Other offerings increasing in popularity are meditation programs and gym memberships to help manage stress.

Need more ideas on how to support employees and improve mental health in the workplace? Dive into our resources on how Randstad can help you retain talent.