Workplace Wellness Revolution: Enhancing Employee Performance Through Mental Health Support

Mental health in the workplace has gotten a lot of attention recently, and for good reason. Supporting your employees’ mental health is vital to reducing stress, boosting productivity, and lowering the risk of burnout. But how can you help? Here are a few suggestions.

Be Available

Foster a workplace culture in which team leaders and HR personnel are truly available for employee support. Proactively reach out to check in on team members, and make time to listen to what they have to say. When someone confides that they are having a personal struggle, ask what you can do to help. Meal trains, flexible scheduling, bereavement leave, and referrals to mental health professionals are just a few ways to provide active support to employees in crisis.

Practice Active Listening

Everyone on your management team should be well-versed in active listening skills. Sometimes, workers simply need a safe space to vent. Sometimes, they don’t know what they need, only that they are struggling. Tips to become a better listener include:

  • Put down your phone and close your computer
  • Make eye contact
  • Avoid physical barriers such as a desk
  • Lean in slightly as you listen
  • Restate what you think was said, and then ask clarifying questions
  • Don’t offer advice unless asked for it

Model Good Habits

Get rid of the antiquated idea of always “looking like a leader.” Show employees your human side. Talk openly about the challenges you face and how you’re overcoming them. For example, if you’re in therapy, let your team know that you’re leaving early for an appointment. Don’t overshare the details, just make everyone is aware that you also have difficulties.

To boost mental health, leave work at work. Resist the urge to check in during your vacations. Turn off your work phone at night. Clock out on time. Show your employees that you value work-life balance. Also, talk about your priorities outside of work, whether that’s going to the gym or having a weekly friends’ night out.

Offer Resources and Support

Get to know your employees and their needs. One might be caring for a disabled relative. Another could be worried about how to save for retirement. Yet another may be feeling overwhelmed by work expectations.

Offer a variety of resources and support to all your workers, all the time. When someone is struggling, it will then be easy to point them in the right direction. For example, if you have an employee assistance plan (EAP) already in place, you can gently guide someone who is going through a rough mental health period to call that number. If you have a mentorship program, you could suggest that someone experiencing difficulties with their work consider signing up…or if someone is worried about whether they’re leaving a mark on the world, they could become a mentor.

You can’t be all things to all people. But when you build a supportive, close-knit work community with access to a variety of resources, you will be in a far better position to support your employees’ mental health.

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