Creating a mentally healthy workforce


Mental health is important not only to the individual but also on the productivity of employees and success of businesses. An estimated 264 million people suffer from depression and anxiety globally, and for the average employee, the workplace represents a significant time investment in their lives. The financial burden employers and businesses take-on to support the mental health of their employees has only been exacerbated by what has been an unparalleled year. For small and medium-sized businesses, this is far more apparent.

Poor practices prevalent

There are many poor practices and risks to mental health that can impact a business, often without employers being aware. Poor communication, lack of manager training, inadequate health and safety policies and an inflexible approach to working days are just some.

To combat these risks, there are endless steps employers can take to support their employees that can ultimately lead to better business performance. It’s important to implement steps and systems that are flexible and suit each individual business’ operating rhythm and requirements.

Adopt an open-door policy

Small businesses can be hardest hit by mental health concerns, with many organisations employing less than 20 people often referring to the workplace relationships as a second family. As part of this culture, employees should feel as though there is an open line of communication between themselves and their direct managers or colleagues.

By normalising behaviour that allows employees to reach out and talk to managers, business owners can help create a supportive and healthy workplace for their employees to feel comfortable in.

Promote a work-life balance

It is essential to remember that while work makes up a significant portion of someone’s life, it is not always the most important part, with families, hobbies and social lives the centre to many peoples happiness.

It can be as easy as supporting employees work-life balance by respecting their boundaries. Avoid sending work related emails or phone calls out of hours and encourage them to take breaks and holidays when appropriate.

Enjoying life outside of work can have a big impact on the enjoyment and productivity inside of work, as well as encouraging mental wellbeing.

Invest in mental health

There are plenty of apps, programs and Employee Assistance Providers (EAP) to support and encourage a healthy mind, for an employer these can be a cheap and effective way to support the wellbeing of employees. Many people may not realise they are even struggling with their mental health, so offering accessible support can make all the difference.

Offering programs, training or easy to access counselling are just a few options that can help create a supportive and healthy culture for your employees to thrive. The investment into mental health services has a direct correlation to overall engagement of your team that generally leads to both commercial and emotional gains as well.

A place where employees feel safe

These are only three ways employers can support the mental health of employees and it’s no doubt the benefits from investing in these are countless. There are endless ways business owners can foster the wellbeing of the workforce and if these recommendations are out of reach or already in place and building on it is a goal, businesses can produce personalised mental health programs to suit the business and employees involved.

Creating a workplace where employees feel safe and supported is key to the ongoing success of small businesses and business owners have a suite of options available to tailor a program or assets to their specific needs. It’s something I believe strongly in, and if you would like to know what we do here at Employsure, I’d encourage you to reach out to me directly via LinkedIn.

Michael Morris, Talent Director, Employsure