how to create a healthy workplace

The global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic brought a rapid rise in occurrences of anxiety and depression, with WHO records showing a dramatic 25% surge per international standards. An APA poll conducted earlier this year found that the majority of workers have felt strained by their job within the past month, with an alarming 60% citing undesirable consequences from this stressor, such as decreased enthusiasm and exhaustion.

In reaction to these difficulties, the World Health Organization (WHO) produced updated workplace mental health directives, which encourage employers to upgrade workplace circumstances, furnish managers with more exhaustive psychological wellness instruction, educate people on psychological wellness self-organization, and provide insight to Human Resources (HR) staff members on how to coordinate with workers or job seekers dealing with mental health issues. The directions also cover details about how soon employees should go back to work after experiencing a mental health crisis.

Employers are key to managing this crisis, being able to give workers assistance before, during and following mental health difficulties.

You can take meaningful steps in your own workplace in the following ways:

Be specific

When you show employees that their mental health is important to you, be precise. For instance, introducing a rule like “No work emails sent after 6pm” or emphasizing the importance of taking time off through an initiative to track vacation days will make a bigger impact than simply expressing “We value work-life balance.”

Establish and promote an EAP

Employee assistance programs (EAPs) are becoming a heavily used perk in the workplace: 97% of large companies and 75% of midsize companies now provide these services. With EAPs, employees can gain access to evaluations, counseling, referrals, as well as follow-up treatment for mental health issues. For those thinking about investing in an EAP for their staff, be certain that you support it during the onboarding process and through internal correspondence, so awareness is enhanced and any barriers preventing usage are broken down.

Trust employees

Time and attendance policies demonstrate trust, or the lack thereof. As long as staff members are not taking more than the allotted amount of vacation, personal or sick days a year, there is no need to question their reasons for taking them. Giving employees the space to take care of their mental wellness or attend to somebody special without being asked is likely to reduce any stress they may feel. Better still, remove distinctions between these types of days and let employees have the freedom to use their time however they see fit.

Reduce stigma

Bringing up conversation about handling stress, looking after oneself, and wellbeing in meetings and emails can help to break down the negative stigma associated with mental health difficulties. Once employees feel confident that you won't label them as 'mad' for having an anxious episode or fire them for dealing with depression, they will be more inclined to seek help. Thankfully, the majority of mental health concerns are highly treatable.

Healthy, happy employees are productive and tend to stay with one employer, take on new responsibilities, and grow in both their roles and within the organization. At a time when it’s harder than ever to find and retain talented employees, investing in employees’ mental health is not just the right thing to do; it’s an essential human capital strategy.

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