Increasing Productivity in the Office Through Mental Health Programs

Byon October 21#business-tips
Increasing Productivity in the Office Through Mental Health Programs

Employers and entrepreneurs have a lot on their plates. They have to monitor the market environment. They have to position their company effectively against competitors. They have to identify and address customers’ needs and wants. And, they have to ensure that the business is operating efficiently and profitably across all business functions.

Indeed, running a successful company is no mean feat, and the challenge is particularly formidable in today’s crowded, competitive, and volatile market environment. In light of all this, it may seem that ministering to employees’ mental health is simply a bridge too far — an endeavor beyond the scope, capacity, and interests of the savvy business leader.

The reality, however, is that cultivating your employees’ mental well-being isn’t just a moral good, it’s also an astute business strategy. Employees who are struggling with mental health issues, from depression to anxiety to burnout and beyond, are less productive, less effective, and less likely to remain with the organization over the long term.

This is why supporting a culture of mental health in the workplace increases productivity and boosts the bottom line. This article describes strategies business leaders can implement today to increase productivity in the office through employee mental health programs.

Why Employee Mental Health Matters

Once upon a time, relationships between employers and their employees were largely transactional and impersonal. Workers clocked in, did their eight hours, and clocked out. What mattered was their ability to consistently meet quotas and related performance metrics. How employees felt and what they experienced during their off hours were pretty much none of the boss’s business or concern.

Savvy employers today, however, have come to recognize the wrongheadedness of this approach. The reality is that your job impacts your mental health, and your mental health impacts your job performance. Happy and healthy employees perform better, produce more, and are more loyal. That positivity is contagious, contributing to more harmonious and productive work environments and better experiences for clients, customers, and partners.

Providing Access to Mental Health Support

It’s in employers’ best interest to be proactive in supporting the mental well-being of your staff, given that mental wellness helps not only the individual employee but the organization as a whole. One of the first and most important things you can do, of course, is to provide mental healthcare services for your staff. This might include, for instance, access to free or low-cost counselling services.  In addition to ensuring that your workers have access to affordable, high-quality mental healthcare, it’s also critical to help employees maintain a healthy work-life balance. This might include an increase in paid time off, opportunities for flex scheduling or hybrid work, as well as discounted memberships to spa center, gyms, and company retreats. Such benefits can help employees learn to decompress and better manage work-related anxieties that can so quickly lead to depression and burnout.

Cultivating a Culture of Mental Health

As important as providing access to mental health services may be, and regardless of how many opportunities for rest and relaxation you may build into your employee benefits packages, these solutions alone are likely not going to be enough. You also need to cultivate a corporate culture that prioritizes mental health.

Opening up a safe, honest, and ongoing dialogue with and between your employees is a crucial first step. This can help you identify areas of concern, defining issues within your organization that you likely were never even aware of. For instance, you may learn that some of your employees feel unsafe, stigmatized, or discriminated against while at work. 

Without proper anti-discrimination training, this issue will likely be perpetuated. This is just one example of the pervasive challenges that may well undermine both the physical and mental well-being of your staff. Recognizing that there are challenges such as these at play within your organization enables you to take prompt and meaningful steps to eradicate them. 

You may, for example, develop new policies to raise awareness of the various forms in which workplace harassment and discrimination may occur, as well as educate employees on how to prevent them. Such measures may go far in cultivating an organizational culture that is safe, accepting, welcoming, and psychologically healthy for all.

Building Connections

Another effective way to support the mental health of your employees is to foster personal relationships between staff across all departments and at all organizational levels. This can help build engagement, trust, and connectedness. These attributes are vital to the morale of all employees but are particularly significant for staff who work remotely. 

Work-from-home environments can be stressful, isolating, and demoralizing, but by creating opportunities for all employees, including remote workers, to interact with one another outside of normal business hours, you’re transforming individual (and potentially lonely) workers into a unified and supportive team. Consider, for example, instituting a weekly online trivia night or a bi-monthly outing at a local park or restaurant. These strong social connections can help build a strong foundation of mental wellness for your remote employees, onsite staff, and you.

Optimize Time Management Processes

An often overlooked aspect of mental health in the workplace is time management. When employees aren’t able to manage their time effectively, they’re going to end up working longer hours with fewer results. 

For this reason, teaching employees proven time management techniques, such as the Pomodoro Method, is a great way to help employees be more efficient and productive. This will prevent frustration, build confidence, and reduce the risk of overwork and burnout.

The Takeaway

Employees are more than just employees. They’re the heart of your organization. And if you want your company to be healthy and strong, then your workers need to be healthy and strong as well. One of the most important ways to ensure this is to cultivate a culture of mental health. Providing mental health programs in the workplace is a powerful tool for increasing productivity, efficiency, and performance while reducing turnover. And the good news is that there are many ways for employers to support the mental well-being of their staff. This can include anything from offering access to mental health services and promoting communication about mental health issues to fostering emotional connectedness within the organization and facilitating effective time management among employees.

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