Managers are responsible for keeping employees on top of their game.
We aren’t just talking about performance here. It’s equally important to create a supportive environment where people can bring their best at work.
Here are four ways managers can support employees’ mental health.
1. Understand what triggers stress in your workplace.
No matter how much you love your job, many factors can contribute to making work stressful.
Conduct a weekly or monthly huddle that encourages discussion of work-life-balance and related concerns among your staff.
It’s a great starting point to understand the causes of stress within your organization. It also helps you create the right strategies for mental health care and intervention.
2. Help employees de-stress.
We can’t hide from stress. But we can face it with an optimistic mindset.
There are many ways to help employees overcome work-related stress, especially during this pandemic.
Encourage them to take a vacation, organize recreational activities, and teach them self-help strategies to cope with stress.
The WHO has a stress management guide that equips individuals with practical skills to survive daily stresses at work.
Also, consider restructuring your work schedules to incorporate more mental breaks. Research suggests that it can increase productivity and creativity, and replenish attention.
3. Create a safe and welcoming work environment.
As the late Thomas J. Watson of IBM put it “the fastest way to succeed is to double your failure rate”.
In recent years, more and more organizations are leaning towards failure-tolerant leadership as a result of learning that failure is key to innovation.
Just as the greatest inventions in history were products of mistakes, a business can’t develop a breakthrough product without failing.
To alleviate stress and boost employee’s potential, try to create an environment where it’s okay for your people to commit mistakes and to be open to areas where they feel uncertain. Forcing staff to pretend they know it all is not healthy for work, or stress levels.
Additionally, encourage open communication. Recognize employees’ input and feedback to address various issues at work.
4. Monitor employee time and attendance.
More and more companies are placing a high priority on employee happiness. According to a 2019 study, the well-being of your employees directly impacts their engagement, motivation, and productivity at work.
Taking a look at their time and attendance, managers can identify patterns that affect employees’ well-being. The factors you should keep an eye on are:
Hours worked and overtime
Are your employees working late? Do they tend to have unplanned overtime? Overworking can cause burnout, which then leads to a range of physical health problems, from fatigue to insomnia, and an increased risk of stroke.
Do you have enough staff to get the business up and running? If the majority of your employees are working beyond their weekly capacity, it could be a sign that you are understaffed.
Are staff taking long breaks or not taking any at all? Is there anyone working on the weekend? Have they taken their earned vacation leaves? Managers should encourage employees to take their much-deserved break as it has been proven to benefit mental and physical health.
In particular, people who take vacation leave have lower stress levels, a lower chance of heart disease, a better outlook in life, and more motivation to achieve their goals.
How much time is spent on specific tasks? Are there repetitive tasks that can be ticked off from their daily work and automated instead? Implementing process change that makes employees more efficient and productive at work can benefit their mental health too.
Encouraging mental health isn’t the same thing as discouraging hard work. Rather, it’s promoting a safe, healthy, and happy environment where employees can thrive and be successful.