The COVID-19 pandemic has put a renewed emphasis on employee health and wellbeing. While much of this focus has centered on physical health, an increasing number of employers have begun to recognize the ways in which employee mental health can negatively impact their business.
Taking steps to improve the mental health of your employees is an important way to demonstrate that you truly care about your team members. However, it is also a smart business move that will improve your overall success and profitability:
Ways Poor Mental Health Can Negatively Impact Performance and Productivity
When employees struggle with mental health issues, it can prevent your business from functioning at peak levels of performance. This can manifest in several ways.
Higher Employee Turnover Rates
There are many factors that can potentially cause an individual’s work life to have a damaging effect on their mental health:
A stressful work environment
An expectation of working long hours that significantly exceed the traditional 40-hour work week
A negative company culture
A feeling that employees aren’t valued or appreciated
A failure to provide the support necessary to set employees up for success
When several of these elements are present at once, it can potentially have a compounding effect on an employee’s mental health, exacerbating existing issues and triggering new ones. This can lead your workers to decide that a change of scenery is necessary to improve their mental health, leading to higher employee turnover rates.
High employee turnover rates can have a devastating impact on the performance of your business. Not only will productivity drop due to being short staffed, but the productivity of your remaining employees will also decline since they’ll be spread thin in an attempt to cover the responsibilities of team members who have left.
Increased Employee Absenteeism
Employees struggling with mental health issues tend to have a higher risk of missing work. These days of missed work will cause your productivity to drop. This will also impact other workers who are forced to pick up the slack for the individuals who are calling out on a regular basis.
Poor Physical Wellbeing
There is a strong correlation between mental and physical health. Individuals struggling with mental health issues tend to experience a deterioration in their physical health. There are several reasons for this:
Poor mental health is often associated with increased levels of stress, which can negatively impact your physical health
Often, people will adopt unhealthy habits, such as smoking or excessive alcohol intake, in an attempt to cope with their mental health issues, and these habits can negatively impact physical health
Employees who are in poor physical health are more likely to miss time at work to deal with their physical ailments, and this will negatively impact productivity.
Performance Limitations Associated with Poor Mental Health
In addition, employees struggling with mental health issues often experience a variety of performance limitations which may impact their overall productivity. These may include:
Lack of stamina
Difficulty handling time pressures
Difficulty handling critical feedback
Problems adapting to change
Difficulty interacting with coworkers
Common Work Conditions Which May Negatively Impact Employee Mental Health
Work environments often contain a variety of risk factors which can negatively impact employee mental health. Some of the most common conditions which may give rise to mental health struggles include:
Poor work culture
Low levels of support for employees
Poor communication between management team and the employees they supervise
Inflexible working hours
Limited inclusion of employees in decision-making
Lack of control over work conditions
Unclear tasks or organizational objectives
Inadequate processes for working through interpersonal conflicts
Inadequate health and safety policies
7 Tips to Improve Employee Mental Health
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to improve the mental health of your employees:
Educate employees about the mental health benefits you offer – Many employees fail to take advantage of mental health benefits offered as part of their healthcare package, and most common reason is that they aren’t aware of the benefits available to them. Take the time to review these benefits with your team so that they know what services are available to them and how to access these services.
Provide online mental health benefits – Telehealth services have been on the rise over the past few years, and mental health treatments are ideally suited to being delivered via telehealth. Providing access to online mental health benefits will make it easier for many employees with hectic schedules to take advantage of these services.
Make changes to your work culture – As we discussed earlier, your company culture can have a significant impact on the mental health of your employees. Taking steps to overhaul your company culture and create a more positive environment can help minimize mental health issues among your team.
Assess employee workloads on a regular basis – Employees with an overwhelming workload may experience greater levels of stress, which may lead to mental health issues. Closely monitor the workloads of all team members to ensure they aren’t feeling stressed and overwhelmed. If you notice that the majority of your team has a daunting workload, you may want to consider expanding your team to reduce pressure and make these workloads more manageable.
Encourage employees to take regular breaks – Taking breaks throughout the work day reduces stress and improves productivity. Make sure these breaks are encouraged as part of your company culture.
Encourage employees to adopt healthy living practices – Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can reduce stress and improve mental health. Make sure to provide healthy snacks at your office, and consider providing employees with a fitness stipend that they can use to defray the costs of a gym membership.
Offer wellness days – As part of your employee benefits package, consider providing your employees with a bank of wellness days to take throughout the year. Encouraging employees to take a day off to rest and recharge when they’re feeling stressed and overworked can improve their mental health. This will ultimately improve their productivity when they return to work.
Premier Employer Services Can Help You Implement Policies to Improve Employee Mental Health
Establishing a work environment that promotes employee mental health is crucial to the success of your business. If you’ve struggled with how to implement policies that will improve the mental health of your team, Premier Employer Services can help. We offer comprehensive HR consulting and employee engagement services that will help set your business up for long term success.
Our exclusive Employee Engagement Plus Approach™ has been designed with your unique needs in mind. We listen carefully to understand your company’s specific challenges and organizational goals. We’ll also take the time to learn about your current workforce dynamic. Our team will use this information to create a customized program that will promote improved employee mental health at your company. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
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