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Did you know that nearly 50% of the all the adults 18 years or older in America will experience a mental illness during their lifetime?
Or that 1 in 5 adults will experience mental illness in a given year? And of the 40 million plus Americans who had a mental disorder in the past year, less than half of them received professional help or other services. If you didn’t already know, May is Mental Health Awareness month and it’s a great opportunity to open the discussion on just how impactful mental health is not only in our own lives, but those around us as well. More specifically how mental health impacts the workplace. Since a large number of Americans spend the majority of their week at work, striving to create a work environment that promotes mental health wellbeing and awareness should be a goal for every business. Here are some things that employers and employees can do to make sure that promoting good mental health in the workplace is a priority.
Promote Mental Health Awareness
It doesn’t have to be the month of May for mental health to be discussed in the workplace. Employers should acknowledge the ever-growing presence of mental health issues instead of ignoring or shying away from them. Whether that means providing benefits with access to mental health professionals or outlets, discussing it openly in employee engagement meetings, or even offering PTO for mental health reasons, acknowledging that mental health exists in the workplace is the first step to alleviating any further impact on employees. If individuals don’t feel like their employer empathizes with mental health issues it can lead to even more anxiety and stress.
Having A Good Work-Life Balance
We’ve all heard the stories of our parents or grandparents working 60 hours a week for 40 years and never missing a day of work. While there might be some validation to those claims, that’s no longer the world we live in. The workforce of today has made it known how important having a balanced work life is to them. So much so that employers are even promoting a well-adjusted work life balance as a incentive to attract talented personnel. There’s certainly merit to it though. Most full-time workers spend a large portion of their waking hours at work and overtime that can take a toll. It can lead to mental fatigue, increased stress, and even animosity, among other issues, if ample personal time isn’t allocated. Having a good work life balance allows employees to not only feel rejuvenated but also to feel like they matter and that their mental wellbeing is important to their employer.
Create an Environment of Encouragement and Trust
There will always be a time and place for constructive criticism – it’s an essential tool that is necessary no matter the company. It’s difficult to improve one’s performance if they aren’t told what needs improving. That said, it should never be only criticism all the time. Positive reinforcement and encouragement in the workplace are just as essential in getting the best out of an employee. Not only that, but it’s vital to the psyche of a company’s workforce. If the only feedback an employee or coworker receives is criticism, they’ll start to develop low self-esteem and self-doubt, believing that nothing they do is good enough. It doesn’t matter who you are, everyone desires positive reinforcement and encouragement and the belief that their peers and superiors trust them. Some more than others, but nonetheless, positivity empowers positive mental health.
Make an Effort to Know Your Employees/Coworkers
There is no one-size-fits-all. As previously mentioned, some employees desire more positive reinforcement and encouragement than others. Some are more susceptible to criticism. There is no one approach that will appease everyone. Therefore, it’s paramount for managers and supervisors to take the time to get to know their subordinates on a more personal level. Learn what makes them tick and what type of feedback brings out the best in them on an individual basis. That all starts with communication. It can be argued that communication is the most important component to any successful relationship. Displaying a willingness for open dialogue and approachability can have immeasurable effects on the mental resilience of any employee. Afterall, we’re all human and we’re all different in our own way, we just want to be treated as such.
All of the COBRA administration experts here at CobraHelp insist that all employers and employees following similar mental health structures at their place of work to better their office environment and employment happiness. Give us a call if you would like assistance with your HR benefits, LOA, or state continuation administration. We're here to lend a helping hand!