If a highly stressful work environment is a chronic problem, it can cause lasting fiscal and personnel problems. Here are six ways employers can improve mental well-being in the workplace.
6 Ways to Improve Mental Well-being in the Workplace
Stress in the workplace has increased dramatically in the last few years, with 67% of employees reporting that they have more stress now than they did in 2019. Additionally, 40% of workers report that their jobs are highly stressful, while a quarter of employees identify their job as the top stressor in their lives, according to worksite wellness research by the CDC.
Since job stress is a stronger predictor of health complaints than personal, financial, or family problems, these statistics are cause for concern: in addition to affecting the wellbeing of employees, stressful jobs can cause elevated healthcare costs, lost productivity, and unwanted employee turnover. Sometimes elevated job stress is caused by temporary conditions, like new management, open enrollment, systems conversions, or busy seasons. But if a highly stressful work environment is a chronic problem, it can cause lasting fiscal and personnel problems in your organization.
World Mental Health Day on October 10th reinforced the need to take action on mental health issues. Here are six ways employers can improve mental wellbeing in the workplace.
1. Talk about it
One of the best ways to improve employee mental wellness is by helping employees talk openly about mental health. Identifying the issue and letting it be an acceptable topic of conversation – removing the taboo around acknowledging work-related stress - can create progress by itself, helping employees realize they aren’t alone.
Encouraging employees to take breaks is also helpful. A short walk outside, a stretch break, or eating a healthy snack can help employees come back to work refreshed. Breaks away from desks and screens also help create a social atmosphere, allowing employees to spend a few relaxed minutes with their co-workers.
Building a culture of open, respectful discussion even applies to team building with remote and hybrid employees, including making regular check-in calls and hosting social activities like team wellness challenges. These types of informal relationships are an important foundation when employees work together on projects and tasks. It also boosts the morale of the whole workforce.
2. Encourage physical and emotional health
When management encourages healthy physical and emotional practices, it influences the whole workplace. But leadership involvement is key. When leaders introduce and are involved in workplace health challenges, incentive programs, and overall wellness programs not only does employee health improve but also there are marked healthcare savings, and increases in productivity and morale. More about a company’s new wellness program taking off with high participation rates here.
3. Provide mental wellness resources
There are countless programs that foster mental wellbeing in the workplace. Programming that combines education and personalized activities can help employees feel supported and provide effective tools and coping strategies. For example, CoreHealth by Carebook offers the MindQ suite of mental well-being challenges, which combine the key components of resilience, life satisfaction, and lasting emotional health.
Additionally, mental health assessments can examine various aspects of an employee’s psychological strengths and challenges in the context of their work experience. Additionally, Wellness Checkpoint by Carebook offers a suite of mental health assessments including Resilience, Psychological Well-being, Financial Well-being and Stress@Work.
These and other assessments offer an aggregate view of an employee population’s mental health needs and provides a starting place for effective, relevant mental health programming.
4. Provide an employee assistance program
Counseling and support offered by EAPs is the first step many companies take towards greater corporate well-being. In fact, 97% of large companies now offer EAPs. As the focus on mental health in the workplace has shifted, these companies have emphasized programs aimed at chronic stress, anxiety, depression, burnout, and more. For more information on making the most of your EAP, click here.
5. Create a healthy work environment
The work environment is known to have a significant impact on employee mental wellness, productivity, job turnover and overall profits. Leaders can influence a healthy workplace environment by having an open-door policy, keeping employees informed of developments, departmental changes, business goals, and policies. These provide direction, build trust, and reduce employee stress.
There are also top-down policy changes that may benefit your workforce culture, including flex time so employees can get exercise and attend to personal needs while also completing a full day of work, and remote and/or hybrid work options, whether it’s a full move to a home office or one or two days per week.
6. Show you care
According to Dee Edington, a renowned worksite wellness expert, “caring is an integral component of an organization when individuals and groups of like-minded people understand and care for the values and situations of other individuals and groups. It is demonstrated every day by expressing and accepting caring in our personal and professional relationships. For those of us in the health, wellness, and well-being fields, we communicate caring daily.”
Ways your organization can show care is through offering community service days, family activities, recognizing excellent employer-employee cooperation, and promoting the voices of employees and management in community meetings and activities. Mr. Edington wrote more extensively about the importance of care in the workplace on our blog here.
Mental wellbeing in the workplace matters. It can affect the lives of employees and their families, productivity, profits, and overall success of your organization. With accessible mental health resources and research-backed reasons to promote it, it’s easy to get started.
If you're looking for ways to incorporate mental well-being into your workplace contact us to learn more!
About CoreHealth Technologies
CoreHealth by Carebook is a total well-being company trusted by global companies to power their health and wellness programs. Our wellness portals help maximize health, engagement, and productivity for over 3.5 million employees worldwide. We believe people are the driving force of organizations and supporting them to make behavior changes to improve employee health is in everyone’s best interest. With the most flexibility, customizations, and integrations of any software in its class, CoreHealth’s all-in-one wellness platform helps achieve great wellness outcomes.
From simple to sophisticated, it's up to you. For more information, visit the CoreHealth website.
About The Author
Laura Neuffer, MSc has 10+ years of experience in worksite wellness implementation, research, and content design.