Supporting mental health in workplaces is a crucial part of building a strong and productive work environment. Whether you run a business, are an HR professional or manage a team at your job, taking care of your employees’ mental well-being will give them a sense of belonging and, in-return boost their productivity. It also helps retain talent, reduce absenteeism, decrease health care costs, and showcase your organization as a positive place to work. In this blog, we cover our top tips on how you or your organization can support mental health in the workplace.
Have open conversations
It’s important to normalize mental health conversations. Be willing to have conversations with your team, check in with them regularly to not just to talk about work but also ask how they’re feeling and coping, and be on the lookout for signs of emotional distress.
Sometimes talking about your own feelings with your team members can help opens doors for others to feel comfortable discussing these issues. This creates a culture where mental health is prioritized, and trust is formed. Even simple statements such as “I feel overwhelmed right now” or “This is a stressful day” can go a long way. Let your team know it’s okay to have an off day now and then and that speaking up is preferable to staying silent and suffering alone.
Lead by example
Often team members take cues from their managers when it comes to how to act in the workplace. Rather than just saying you support mental health, show that you do by how you act. It is also important to take care of your own mental wellbeing when you are at work. Take breaks throughout the day, go for a walk once in awhile, have an actual lunch break rather than eating at your desk, and prioritize turning off your work email when you’re on vacation. These actions won’t just help your own mental health, but they’ll show your team that mental health matters to you.
Build a culture of empathy
To promote mental wellness at work, it is important that your team can establish genuine connections with each other, build their social and leadership skills and improve their work environment. Building a culture of empathy at work will help your team resolve conflicts and enhance their productivity. A few ways you can practice empathy in the workplace are:
- Involve your team in decision making so they feel valued.
- Reinforcing a culture of gratitude within your team and thank them for their work no matter how small or significant it is.
- Organize regular team building activities which can be fun and help employees relax and take their mind of work stress.
- Offer emotional support when a team member is going through a hard time either at work or on a personal level.
Develop mental health policies
Work to create policies geared toward improving mental health. For instance, does your organization have policies in place to prevent discrimination, harassment, or bullying? Make sure that these include how to prevent stigma against depression and other mental health issues in the workplace.
One way to show that you take mental health seriously and ensure that mental health concerns are treated with importance is to make policies to create a harmonious workplace. Then, take steps to ensure that everyone in your team takes these policies seriously and follows them.
Provide mental health resources
Include mental health support as a part of your company’s healthcare plan. Talking to your insurance provider can help you understand how you can accomplish this. With a Saskatchewan Blue Cross group benefit plan, you can offer employees access to an Employee Family Assistance Program (EFAP), which can can support employees in:
- Improving personal wellbeing
- Managing relationships and family
- Addressing workplace challenges
- Taking financial and legal control in life
Through Saskatchewan Blue Cross’s partnership with Homewood Health, a Canadian leader in mental health and addiction services, support is available for your employees 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
It’s also important to educate your team on the importance of mental health. Consider hiring subject matter experts to present, and consider topics like teaching your team how to spot signs that someone may need assistance, showing them where they can get the help they need, and guiding them on what they can do to boost their own health and wellbeing at work as well as how they can help support others.
Offering a comprehensive group benefits plan
Another way to support your team’s mental well-being is to make sure their health needs are covered. With a Saskatchewan Blue Cross group benefits plan, you can offer access to health practitioners such as massage therapists and chiropractors, and coverage for vision, dental and prescription drugs. Our custom workplace benefits plans offer flexible rates and customizable options, giving organizations the ability to design a package that covers their unique needs – whether they have a team of 5 or upwards of thousands. Check out our Group Benefits Plans, contact your local broker, or request for more information about how Saskatchewan Blue Cross can help you take better care of your employees.