The U.S. surgeon general released framework depicting how employers can encourage employee mental health and well-being. Improving mental health has become increasingly important due to the effects of COVID-19. The stressors of the pandemic can be felt in the workplace, so it’s important that employees feel properly supported.
The five-part framework suggests that employers should:
- Create a safe working environment. Employees should never feel unsafe or scared in the workplace. Building and maintaining a safe space allows workers to focus on their jobs.
- Value their workers. Employees want to feel important and that their work matters. Taking the time to recognize contributions positively impacts morale and mental health.
- Build relationships and a caring culture. On average, an employee spends around 90,000 hours at work during their lifetime. Therefore, it is imperative that the time spent in the workplace emphasizes inclusion, belonging, and comradery.
- Advocate for a harmonious work-life balance. Boundaries should be established and kept between workers’ personal and professional lives. A lack of clear expectations can result in an employee overworking and burning out, which negatively affects their overall well-being.
- Cultivate growth internally. When an employee believes there is room to grow within their organization, they will feel more motivated and driven. Without room to grow, work may begin to feel unfulfilling, and the employee may look elsewhere for employment.
Employers are not solely responsible for the improvement of employee mental health. Employees are capable of boosting their well-being as well.
Ways employees can boost mental health
Despite mental health initiatives in the workplace, workers can still feel stressed. Fortunately, employees can attempt and adopt the following coping strategies:
- Develop relaxation techniques. When feeling overwhelmed, it is important to have an effective plan to release negative energy. Common techniques include deep breaths, meditation, and exercise.
- Promote self-care. Outside the workplace, employees should prioritize healthy practices like eating well, getting quality sleep, and making time for valued relationships.
- Make and meet goals. Achieving goals is an effective way to feel accomplished. The goals can revolve around anything, like taking the lead in a collaborative project, pitching a new initiative, or even making more work friends.
Mental health needs are constantly evolving and are affected by the workplace. Employers can work to create a nurturing and supportive environment whilst employees can develop coping techniques and reach out with additional ideas to further the mental health initiative.