Five top tips to help staff manage their mental health

HR ADVICE: As employee priorities change, organisations are looking to move with them. One key issue requiring such a pivot is mental health.

The Covid-19 pandemic has put mental health on a pedestal. Poor mental health can impact productivity, communications, engagement, and other core aspects of the working experience. HR professionals can look to these five top tips to support their employees and avoid the impacts of poor mental health in the workforce.

1. Schedule interactions to encourage open communication

While confidence around mental health issues is growing, employees can still be scared or shy to mention that they need help, or that they are struggling. When these things go unnoticed, they can begin to affect output and productivity. Organisations should create safe and supportive environments where employees can talk openly about their struggles.

Treating mental health issues as equally important as physical health, and making sure there is regular wellness trainings and workshops for employees can help better the situation.

2. Encourage healthy living habits

Mental health can be greatly influenced by daily habits, including nutrition and exercise. Hence, promoting healthy, daily practices can also be a strategy for mental health care across a workforce.

Promoting a healthy work-life balance by motivating employees to use time off and create boundaries for work and personal life, particularly for employees working from home. Often times in a work from home situation these boundaries are blurred. Additionally, employers can pay attention to the ergonomics of employees to reduce the risk of injuries.

3. Connect through regular check-ins

Building a culture of regular communications, by checking in with employees is more critical than ever. With so many people still working from home, it can be even more challenging to notice the signs that someone is struggling. HR leaders should aim to create schedules for regular team and one-on-one meetups with employees.

Open communication can also be a way for organisations to share, adjust, and clarify the expectations, visions, and missions of the organisation to employees.

4. Be flexible in policy development

During these unprecedented times, the working situation will continue to change, often with little warning or advanced notice. Offering flexibility can help your team succeed amid the continued uncertainty, so take a customised approach when addressing workplace arrangements and policies. Even once-outlandish ideas, such as the four-day working week, could be worth considering again in the new context.

Flexible working has far more than just practical benefits. Giving staff control over their decisions and schedules can also provide a long-run boost to mental wellbeing.

5. Arrange gatherings and team events

Another way employers can promote good mental health is to have team meals and outings where social distancing restrictions allow. This is a great way to show your gratitude for the team, while also giving staff an opportunity to develop relations with their colleagues outside of the workplace.

Although today firms are doing gatherings virtually, firms can look to online games and activities to help the team work past frustrations during these trying times. All of this can lead to happier and more connected relationships between employees and employers.

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