Over the years, the spotlight on mental health has gotten brighter and brighter. Employers have become more well-versed and now understand the importance of recognizing employees’ mental health as it affects their well-being and productivity. Due to the pandemic and the Great Resignation, the workplace has seen an increased need for mental health support and resources.
People are social by nature, and when a person feels unable to open up about their fears or problems, they suffer. Workplaces that promote openness see stronger relationships between employees. Some jobs are inherently stressful, but by building a safe and supportive workplace community, employees can rise above the negative impacts stress can typically cause. There are multiple ways employers can emphasize mental health within the organization.
How to promote a safe, open space for mental health and wellness
- Lead by example. Those in leadership roles should be open about the challenges they have faced. Showing emotion and vulnerability garners respect and sets an example that employees are not expected to be emotionless machines in the workplace. Leaders can empower and support workers when being open and relatable.
- Have open communication. If support services are lacking, employees need to feel comfortable relaying that information to leadership. Without open communication, disparities cannot be remedied. Employees and leadership should work together to develop policies and programs to fill the gaps.
- Provide stability. Since the start of the pandemic, instability in all aspects of life could be felt. In these tumultuous times, leadership needs to present a strong, unified front. There is comfort in relying on those who can weather a crisis and successfully overcome adversity.
- Avoid politics. No matter the setting, political conversations tend to cause rifts. A workplace functions less thoroughly if employees lack respect for one another. There is a difference between open conversation and gossip. Leadership should address what is appropriate and acceptable in the workplace.
- Cultivate relationships. While relationships can bud in the office, they develop further outside the office. Employers can offer events outside of work to foster these relationships. When given the opportunity to personally connect without the pressures of work, coworkers can bond and formulate beneficial relationships.
Openness in the workplace prevents employees from feeling isolated by mental health concerns. Mental health needs are constantly evolving, especially with current events, so support and resources should be just as fluid in response. Mental health and wellness will always be important in the workplace.