How to improve mental well-being in the workplace

  • Well-being
  • By Aleks Szymanski
  • Published on March 13

In the fast-paced environment of modern workplaces, mental well-being is crucial for overall productivity and employee satisfaction. A lot of research has been conducted into mental health in the workplace in both America and the UK. These studies reinforce the importance of prioritizing mental health, especially in lowering stress levels, increasing job satisfaction, and improving overall performance.

Mental health in the workplace

Signs that an employee’s mental well-being may be suffering include mood disturbances, social withdrawal, irregular expression of their feelings, and changes in behavior. Although these factors can disrupt productivity and the workplace environment, employers should remain calm and compassionate. After all, if a member of staff suddenly fell and sprained their ankle, your first impulse would be to seek medical assistance; this is the same instinct you should feel if you encounter an employee with a mental health issue.

The old saying is that prevention is better than cure, so what can employers do to boost mental well-being at work?

Create a supportive work environment

It’s important to encourage employees to support each other in the workplace. Open communication, access to mental health resources, and flexible working arrangements will all contribute to fostering a positive work environment and culture. 

Look to educate managers and employees about the signs of mental health issues, as well as empathetic ways to support colleagues who may be struggling. If people feel comfortable discussing their challenges and needs through open conversations, it will help break down the stigma surrounding mental health. 

Promote work-life balance

As we’ve discussed previously, maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial to improving mental well-being. Encouraging employees to take regular breaks, setting reasonable work hours, and promoting time off are all effective ways to help prevent burnout and boost overall morale.

Remote work options and flexible hours can also contribute to a healthier work-life balance and better employee mental well-being. Allowing staff to manage their time according to their specific needs can help reduce burnout, plus they can use their paid time off for some well-earned rest and relaxation. 

Encourage physical activity

Research from the American Heart Association shows that routine stress, including job strain and long working hours, may contribute to serious health problems, including elevated risk for heart disease and stroke and experiencing depression for the first time. As a result, employers should be looking to minimize staff work hours and promote physical exercise.

Indeed, physical activity has been shown to positively impact mental well-being. It can aid with managing stress and help improve a person’s sleep, mood, and confidence. Encouraging employees to exercise regularly, providing access to fitness facilities or wellness programs, and promoting active breaks throughout the working day can all contribute to improved mental well-being.

Offer mental health support

Providing mental health resources such as an employee assistance program (EAP), in-house counseling services, or partnerships with local mental health providers that are readily available to staff will make them more likely to seek help when needed. Plus, offering mental health days as part of a company’s paid time off policy is another strong way of showing employees how much you value their mental well-being. 

Mental health awareness training can also make a significant difference to an organization. This could involve organizing support groups, providing private meeting spaces, or offering confidential one-to-one sessions. These should be safe spaces and judgment-free zones, where employees feel comfortable discussing their feelings and seeking help.

Mental well-being in the workplace matters. It can affect the lives of workers and their families, productivity, profits, and overall success of your organization. By creating a supportive work environment, companies can help employees feel happier and more productive, leading to fewer sick days, better morale, and improved staff retention.