6 Ways to support your employees' mental health

18 May 2023

15-21 May is Mental Health Awareness Week, so the perfect time for us to remind ourselves not only of the importance of mental health, but how employers can help. 1 in 6.8 (14.7%) people experience mental health problems in the workplace and 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions.

So, as an employer, it’s essential to prioritise your employees’ mental health at work. Not only is creating a healthy and supportive work environment the right thing to do, but you can actually improve your productivity. You’ll also boost employee morale, reduce absenteeism, and improve retention rates. 

In this blog post, we’ll share our top tips on how to take care of your employees’ mental health at work.

  1. Create a supportive work culture

Are you providing a supportive work culture? It’s one of the most important ways to take care of your employees’ mental health. 

A creative work culture is about creating a sense of team and belonging. Laying out a clear vision, mission and values will all help to align individuals and ensure everyone understands how they can contribute to your company’s ambitions and goals. It’s about promoting open communication and a ‘safe space’ for people to voice opinions and concerns, but also 

encouraging self-care, and positivity. You could even consider offering counselling services or Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) to support your employees’ mental health needs. 

2. Encourage work-life balance

Did you know that 31% of UK employees feel that they do not have a good work life balance? Yet, 72% of workers believe work-life balance is a critical factor when choosing a job. 

This is a really important one to help your employees achieve! Not only for wellbeing, but for improved productivity. Research by the Corporate Executive Board who represent 80% of Fortune 500 companies found people who believe they have good work-life balance work 21% harder than those who don’t.

But despite these stats, many employees struggle with achieving a healthy work-life balance, which can lead to stress, anxiety, and burnout. To support your employees’ mental health, why not, offer flexible schedules, remote work options (if this works for your business), and time off policies. Establish clear boundaries and expectations for after-hours communication, and encourage employees to take breaks throughout the day. Supporting parents/carers who need time off for dependants will really make a difference as well. 

3. Promote physical wellness

Physical wellness is closely linked to mental health, so it’s essential to promote healthy habits in the workplace. Research suggests that nearly one in three people with a long-term physical health condition also has a mental health problem, most often depression or anxiety.

How can employers support? Why not offer wellness programs, such as gym memberships or yoga classes? And persuade employees to take regular breaks for physical activity – maybe even arrange group walks during lunch breaks. Provide healthy snacks and meals in the office, and encourage employees to stay hydrated throughout the day.

4. Recognise and reward great work/effort

Employee recognition and rewards can go a long way in improving employee morale and mental health. Recognise employees for their hard work and achievements, and offer rewards such as bonuses, extra time off, or company perks. This can help employees feel valued and appreciated, which can have a positive impact on their mental health.

But if budget’s an issue, rewards don’t have to be costly. Consider early Friday finishes, later Monday morning starts. Even small rewards like having a lunch paid for or brews made for them for the day can boost morale and make employees feel valued.

5. Provide training and development opportunities

Providing opportunities for training and development can help employees feel fulfilled and engaged at work. A survey showed that almost all (92%) job candidates use learning and development opportunities as a deciding factor when considering job offers from two employers. Basically, if you’re not helping your staff to develop, you’re going to lose out.

Training doesn’t always have to be formal. Think about allowing people time away from their day job to complete online training. Or, setting up mentoring/buddy opportunities and chances for staff to gain exposure to other areas of your business. And if external training is just far too costly a route for your business at the moment, why not set up internal sessions where colleagues pass on valuable skills to one another? There are plenty of ways to get creative when it comes to developing your people.

6. Accommodate employee needs

Every employee’s unique, so it’s important to be able to accommodate individual needs to support mental health. One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to mental health. Each of our minds and bodies and different, as are our lifestyles and situations. 

Consider offering things such as flexible schedules, ergonomic workstations, or accommodations for medical conditions. Encourage employees to communicate their needs (privately if preferred) and work with them to find solutions that support their mental health.

Taking care of your employees’ mental health at work requires a multi-layered approach. But by dedicating some time to ensuring the health and wellbeing of your people, you’ll create a happier, healthier business and improved success for all.

Want to know more about creating a great workplace environment and becoming an employer of choice for the best technical and trades candidates? If you work in engineering, IT & telecoms, industrial or driving,we’re here not only to help you find great staff but to ensure the best technical talent want to join you. Get in touch to find out more.