Winter has an effect on mental health, and it is a universal truth regardless of where your company is located. Even if you are not dealing with extreme cold, fewer daylight hours, Christmas stress, and post-holiday sadness can all combine to damper your mood.
Whatever your line of work, the winter blues are in full force right now. It’s crucial for you as an employer to assist the emotional health of your team members at this trying time.
1. Include the term “mental health” in your company’s vocabulary
Even ten years ago, the phrase “workplace mental health” might have elicited a frown. Its recent inclusion at leadership meetings, however, proves that it is not a passing trend. Your leadership conversations should change as mental health continues to become a more common topic of discussion among healthcare professionals.
The American worker is worn out after a pandemic that followed years of stressful “hustle culture” and terrible working circumstances. By examining individual and team workloads to make sure they are manageable, you can address the impact on mental health. Before making any changes, gather feedback from your staff to identify what would be feasible—and by whom and in what timeframes—in the event that they are not.
When the chance presents itself, share your own experience with mental health. Destigmatizing conversations about mental health and fostering a sense of hope among employees may both be accomplished by sharing your own struggles and triumphs. Make sure team members are aware of the options your company has for mental health, such as peer listening programmes and light therapy lamps, and encourage them to use them. Wide-ranging advantages can be had within your organisation by normalising mental health and talking about how you get through challenging times.
2. Educate individuals and managers about mental health issues
Students rarely learn anything about mental health in formal education, much less how to handle other people’s situations. But how well your team can create and uphold mental health boundaries frequently determines how successful they are.
To find any training gaps, compare your present training on mental health awareness to employee feedback and industry standards. It can often feel hard to talk about something so private as mental health. Additionally, staff members and managers could worry that by posing inquiries to their coworkers, they would go too far or breach privacy laws. As you develop your training courses, give samples of what is appropriate.
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Create training for management-level personnel as well as individual contributors. The ideas learnt from this course should be applied to daily work rather than being treated as merely another box to tick. Include suggestions to assess stress levels, concerns, and needs in typical meeting agendas. As leaders create the path for long-lasting change, the more you talk about mental health, the more mainstream it will become.
3. Give managers more freedom to accommodate needs related to mental health
Although your health benefits provider may already provide plug-in wellness benefits, how effective are they? Add more practical procedures to the regular set of benefits, many of which don’t need budget approval. Set up a hot beverage bar or organise brief post-lunch team walks (weather allowed) to provide some cosy comfort to your team’s workplace.
Examine your organisational culture in addition to promoting such diversions from routine. Overworked workers may experience stress that makes their everyday lives that much more stressful. Asking about the capabilities and accommodations that coworkers make at work will help you change your perspective. Give managers the freedom to do what is best for the company. Give them the freedom to adjust a deadline or provide an employee with a mental health day if necessary. Managers have the chance to enhance employee wellbeing while still making sure that job is completed.
To improve autonomy and provide managers the authority to approve certain actions, modify the policies and procedures. They will be able to exercise their best judgement in the interest of employee mental health thanks to this flexibility. Establish quarterly check-ins with your leadership team to talk about mental health concerns and find new ways to assist your coworkers in the future.