One in four of us will be affected by mental health at some point in our lives, so we all need to do what we can to help each other through the tough stuff.
As an employer, supporting your staff’s mental health not only makes you an awesome boss, but can also boost your business, too. After all, people do their best work when they’re in their best health.
So to help you mark World Mental Health Day 2019, we’ve put together six simple, practical and affordable ways to support mental health in your workplace. Let’s check them out…
1. Get your people moving
We know being active is good for physical health, but it can also work wonders for mental health. Regular exercise can increase energy levels, improve concentration, support better sleep, and help combat stress and depression.
And exercise doesn’t have to mean slogging it out at the gym, training for a triathlon, or being able to bench press your own bodyweight. A little exercise can make a big difference—so encourage your people to get moving.
Maybe you could get someone in to run a weekly fitness class after work. Or start a lunchtime walking group. Or even use exercise initiatives, like a step tracking app and reward the person who does the most steps in a week.
2. Encourage healthy eating
What we eat has a huge effect on our mental health. And we’re not talking about drastic diets or throwing yourself into the latest food trends (smashed avo, anyone?). Just few small changes can improve our workplace wellbeing.
Eating slow-release energy foods can help us avoid that ‘sugar crash’. Cutting back on caffeine can help us feel less anxious. And staying hydrated can help us stay focused.
So help your staff feel their best by encouraging healthy eating habits at work. Perhaps provide Monday breakfasts to kick-start the week, offer healthy snacks like fruit, or have alternatives to caffeine-rich tea and coffee in your staff kitchen.
3. Create a positive company culture
People who are more socially connected have better mental health, so it’s important to have a positive company culture in your business.
Sure, you don’t need everyone to be workplace BFFs, but a strong team spirit gives staff a sense of community and belonging.
Hold team meetings, encourage collaboration, and arrange Friday drinks. Your staff will feel part of something, and that’s essential for their wellbeing.
4. Celebrate team success
When there’s lots to do it’s easy to focus on our tasks, tick them off, and move on to the next one. But don’t forget to stop and celebrate success in your business, too.
It shows you value your employees’ efforts and achievements, and also acts as a powerful motivator by boosting self-esteem and inspiring people to work towards their next task.
5. Have an open door policy
Last year 595,000 UK workers suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety. But if someone in your business is dealing with mental health issues, would you know about it?
Employees often feel scared to tell their manager if they’re struggling, so make sure your staff know that nobody needs to suffer in silence at work.
Tell them they can talk to you about any issues they’re facing, discuss ways that you can support them, and hold regular 121 meetings so you can check in.
6. Offer an EAP (don’t worry, we’ll explain what that is)
While it’s good to talk, the reality is that even if you’re the world’s most supportive manager (and we know you are), your employees might not want to discuss personal problems with The Boss.
You could invest in an employee assistance programme (EAP) like Bright Wellbeing & Counselling. It gives your staff access to a range of support services, including our 24/7 advice line and face-to-face counselling sessions.
So when your staff need support they always have somewhere to turn, and you can be confident you’re doing your bit to help keep your people feeling happy and healthy in your business.