Your company is in the people business. Your people are at the core of your company, and it’s no secret that mental wellness plays a major role in workplace productivity. Studies show that poor mental wellness can have a significant negative effect on job performance and satisfaction, which can have lasting effects on your business and the lives of your employees. Happier and well-adjusted employees makes for a healthier business environment and therefore a healthier business. We’ve come up with five ways you can be a stronger leader by promoting happiness and productivity among your team.
Raising awareness and creating an open culture around mental health
Reducing the stigma around mental health is one of the first things you can do when beginning to promote mental wellness at work. There are a few ways you can go about this, but the important thing is making sure you do it in a positive and sensitive manner. You can get started by trying one of these tactics:
- Send a weekly email. By communicating your work-life balance philosophy to all your employees, you reinforce the concept with them and support their desire to be a successful individual and member of your team. (You can use this resource as a guide to get you started.)
- Provide training. Educate your leaders on ways to support mental health in your workplace. An employee's relationship with their direct supervisor plays a significant role in their workplace happiness and overall satisfaction.
- Form a dialogue. Talk with your employees about mental wellness concerns and make sure to be encouraging and understanding. You may even want to provide them with helpful resources. Over time, your employees will start to feel more comfortable talking to company leadership about it.
Involving employees in decisions
Virtually everyone on Earth wants to feel like they are making a difference and that they aren’t just another cog in the wheel at work. There are several day-to-day decisions that the majority of your employees can be involved in. Including employees in decisions that directly affect their own department can boost both morale and motivation. Here are a few ways you can increase employee involvement in decision-making:
- Send out employee surveys (and use that information to improve your culture).
- Give your employees leadership opportunities to spearhead new projects.
- Encourage employees to identify issues in their department and develop ideas for addressing them.
Assessing your uniforms
Employee uniforms can play a surprising role in employee mental wellness. A lot of companies run into the issue of deciding on employee uniforms based entirely on the company image or their budget. Ideally, these things should also be taken into consideration:
- How do your uniforms affect employee satisfaction?
Do your employees enjoy putting on their uniforms every day? Are they comfortable wearing them, or are they itchy, too tight, too baggy, or too thin? Would your employees want to wear their uniform outside of work?
- How does that employee satisfaction affect the customer experience?
When your customers see your employees, do your employees look comfortable and happy? If not, will that affect how your customers view your company image even more so than the initial appearance?
When you are looking at updating your employee uniforms, be sure to consider these questions, and don’t forget to involve your employees in deciding what the new uniforms will be through surveys or team meetings. Giving them the opportunity to come to work dressed appropriately but also comfortably can help boost employee morale significantly. You may also consider a custom online store for your employees to pick out their own approved and branded uniforms.
Promote a work/life balance
Employee burnout is a very real, and a very scary concern when it comes to your employees’ wellbeing. Job burnout affects about 40% of North American office workers and has significant negative effects on their work and home life. As a team leader, be looking out for burnout signs and know how to avoid and reverse it. Here are a few red flags and how to combat them:
- They are always tired. Does your employee always seem mentally and physically exhausted, even after the weekend? If your employees seem uncharacteristically forgetful, inattentive, anxious, and/or angry, that could signify a deeper issue.
- They seem detached. You employees may exert less energy when working on projects, or show lack of enjoyment. They may start to isolate themselves from other coworkers, close their office door, and reject invitations to socialize.
- They are less productive and start to perform poorly. Are they working long hours but getting very little done? Do they seem like they are starting to feel worthless, unimportant, and irritable?
Here’s a few things you can try to decrease the chances of job burnout and promote work/life balance in your company, and keep your employees happier.
- Improve schedule flexibility. Allow your employees to work remotely for a couple days a week, or have a minimum weekly hour requirement, but let them choose when to come in to work them. This obviously doesn’t work in every industry or role, but it’s worth trying if you can make it work.
- Encourage them to bring their home to work, not the other way around. Try having days where your employees can bring in family and friends for a few hours or the day. Also, encourage them to welcome family and friends during breaks to help break up the work day.
- Encourage employee fitness. Exercise is very beneficial to boosting mental wellness by reducing stress, increasing self-confidence, and sharpening memory, among other benefits. Offer programs like office yoga or a gym if your office are effective options if you have the space and budget. If not, consider options such as partnering with a local gym to provide memberships or incentivize employees to join after-work fitness groups to increase use of the programs. You can also incorporate wearable tech devices to incentivize on-the-job fitness as well.
Reduce the stigma
It’s important to reduce the stigma around mental health in the workplace. Only around 20% of workers believe their managers would be supportive of workers battling mental health disorders, which suggests that mental wellness conditions are likely being underreported and are going untreated.
Think about your employees and coworkers right now. Are they happy with their current situation? Could they be happier? What could be done to increase their happiness?
After all, at the end of the day you’re in the people business. It’s time to invest in your people, and your business will thrive from it.