How Managers Can Support Employees’ Mental Wellbeing

How Managers Can Support Employees’ Mental Wellbeing

Although it seems that we’re approaching the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, a question that arises is whether its impact on the mental health of employees will be long-lasting? Harvard Business Review reported that employees would be dealing with high levels of stress, anxiety, trauma, PTSD, and many more mental health issues for several years to come, because of the pandemic. However, taking a proactive approach to this problem can reduce some of these foreseeable mental health issues. Here are five ways managers can support their employees’ mental wellbeing at this time.

1. Keep the lines of communication open, frequent, and genuine.

We’ve all been there – having someone ask ‘How are you?’ and immediately mumbling back a quick ‘Good! How are you?’ without thinking, despite feeling an immense amount of sadness, stress, worry, or frustration. Keeping a communication line that is open and genuine can sometimes start with taking the first step towards vulnerability. The next time an employee asks you how you’re doing, respond with honesty and express how you’re really feeling. You might find that in response, the other person may also be more inclined to tell you how they’re really doing. Aside from daily casual conversations, managers also need to ensure they show genuine care for their employees and ask how they are doing from time to time concerning their mental wellbeing. Research indicates that 57.7% of employees appreciate direct calls from managers as a form of a mental health check-in, and 41% want their managers to engage in an honest and personal conversation about their mental health.

2. Invest in mental health skills training.

Part of an effective mental health and wellbeing strategy is not being an expert in the field itself, but providing your employees with access to tools, training platforms, and professional advice.

If your employees are dealing with a crisis, they should be aware of what forms of support are available to them and how they can access them.

A huge key to this is investing in proactive mental health support platforms built based on cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT). Preventative mental health support allows employees to build essential mental health skills like mindfulness, resilience, energy management and more.

It’s also crucial for managers to ensure they make their employees aware of the mental health resources available to them; 45.9% of employees reported that their companies did not adequately communicate what forms of support were available for their use.

3. Encourage time-off & mental health days.

Working longer doesn’t always mean working smarter. In today’s society, the concept of ‘hustle culture’ is heavily pushed, which gives people the impression that they need to be operating at 110% all the time, with little to no time off and no breaks.

Although this may seem like a great strategy for short-term productivity, it is not sustainable. Employees need time off to help rejuvenate and get mental rest to ensure they don’t burn out. Remote work has also blurred the lines between our professional and personal lives. Employees who work from home for more than 2-week periods are 50% more likely to report a decline in their mental health from low energy and mental fatigue. Providing employees with some time off or a mental health day can help reduce stress, anxiety and provide more work-life balance.

4. Workspace matters.

Our surroundings can impact our mood. Encouraging employees to customize their virtual or in-office workspaces to their liking can help boost wellness and productivity. Whether that’s hanging up photos of family and friends, adding in a few plants, or putting up inspirational quotes, the little things truly can make a difference.

5. Be vulnerable and lead by example.

40% of managers and c-level executives have reported a decrease in their mental wellbeing as a result of the pandemic. Mental health is not a ‘1 in 5’ issue – we all have mental health, and we all can benefit from being honest and vulnerable with each other about how we’re feeling. By being vulnerable about our experiences, we help break the stigma around mental health and create a cultural shift within an organization. Vulnerability also helps showcase authentic leadership, which is known to build trust between managers and employees, which aids in boosting productivity and engagement.

Interested in learning more about proactive mental health support?

headversity is a skill-focused platform that puts proactive tools and content right in the hands of your employees, helping them build foundational resilience skills that can be called upon in any situation. To learn more about our platform, connect with us now!