Corporate culture and mental health initiatives are more than just buzzwords to attract millennial job seekers in a candidate’s market. U.S. employers lose about $226 billion each year due to conditions like stress, anxiety, depression, and addiction. Therefore, it’s no surprise that more companies are implementing wellness programs than ever before. Not only are these initiatives financially worthwhile, but they are also crucial for cultivating a positive work environment. While the focus of company wellness programs is usually physical health, mental wellbeing is just as critical to company success.
Here are 7 tips to cultivate a mentally healthy workplace:
1. Encourage a healthy work/ life balance
Resist the urge to reward employees for working overtime or opting out of vacation days. Even though this may improve productivity in the short run, over time it will take a toll on your employees’ mental health and work performance. Encouraging your employees to have a life outside of the office will ensure that they’re refreshed and energized at work.
2. Discuss mental health at work
As one in five Americans are considered to have a mental illness, mental health isn’t a topic your company can afford to avoid. Start a dialogue with your employees about mental health and attempt to reduce the stigma associated with it. Train managers to recognize mental health warning signs and respond appropriately so that they can better support employees who are struggling with their mental health.
3. Offer free screening tools for employees
Much of America’s workforce that is grappling with mental health issues fails to treat them, not realizing the warning signs or dismissing them as just stress. Offering free screening tools at work encourages employees to assess their risk of mental health issues and seek treatment if they need it.
4. Encourage physical health
Studies show that physical health plays a role in mental wellbeing. Offering free gym memberships or revamping the office vending machine with healthier options are two ways to improve your employees’ physical health. Exercising regularly and eating healthier can improve both mood and energy levels, helping to foster a happier, more productive work environment.
5. Host wellness events at work
Consider hiring a therapist, psychologist, nutritionist, or other health expert to conduct workshops a few times a year. Employees are more likely to attend wellness workshops if they’re free and at the office, and the lessons taught in these seminars can help your staff to reach their full potential.
6. Reduce the stigma of mental illness
Experts estimate that a whopping 75% of Americans and Europeans with a mental health issue aren’t seeking the help they need. One of the main reasons that these people avoid seeking help is fear. Making it clear that your company does not stigmatize mental illness - and won’t tolerate employees who do - encourages employees to seek the help they need.
Fostering good mental health practices at work can help reduce turnover, lower employee absenteeism, improve morale, and overall improve your company’s culture. An excellent work environment can directly benefit your bottom line by generating employee loyalty and dedication, which often improves productivity. Furthermore, a positive work environment attracts job seekers to your company, creating a large applicant pool to choose from when making hiring decisions. A healthy company starts with a healthy mindset, so don’t overlook mental health when crafting your company’s wellness agenda.