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5 Ways to Support the Mental Health of Your Employees

By Brian Farris   |    July 7, 2020   |    7:05 PM

How Business Owners Can Take Care of Their Team’s Mental Well-Being

In recent years, mental health in the office has become a hot topic. In fact, bosses and managers have realized that employees who are mentally well can do more of their best work.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend our personal and professional lives, it’s no surprise that small business owners like you are wondering how to best support their employees’ well-being. 

Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can try in your business — here's how to support your team's mental well-being during these difficult and confusing times.

1. Make your business a stigma-free zone

With so many stigmas around mental health struggles, one of the best things you can do to support your team is to open up the dialogue about mental well-being. 

Schedule regular one-on-one meetings and encourage team members to discuss any concerns they have. Ask about their workload and work-life balance and encourage them to lead the discussion.

However, note that this only works if your team trusts you as a leader.

2. Enact policies that support work-life balance

You have to do more than acknowledge the importance of work-life balance. Go the extra mile and develop policies that truly support a balanced lifestyle. Here are some you can consider:

  • Flexible work hours instead of a strict 9-to-5 schedule.
  • Support for working parents, like a child care stipend.
  • Paid time off (then, set the expectation that the time should be used.)
  • Allow employees to take unpaid leave when life circumstances necessitate it.
  • When employees work long hours to finish a big project, allow them to take some extra time off.

Additionally, don’t forget to model the type of work-life balance you want for your team. If you always respond to emails after hours, they’ll feel as though they should do the same.

3. Offer benefits for mental health services

If your company has the resources to offer health insurance and other medical benefits, make sure mental healthcare, like therapy with a licensed counselor, is included. 

Many employees don’t know about all of the benefits their health plans offer, so it’s also crucial they’re properly educated about the perks of their coverage.

4. Set clear expectations

Employees can easily become stressed and anxious when they don’t know what’s expected of them. That’s why it’s so critical to set clear expectations about job responsibilities and performance.

Do your employees know exactly what they’re supposed to be working on within the company? If not, you now have a great opportunity to outline responsibilities, processes, and other details.

5. If an employee is struggling with their mental health, be flexible and supportive

When employees trust a company’s leadership, they’re more likely to be open and honest about mental health struggles. If someone on your team comes to you with an issue, it’s vital to be flexible and supportive. For example, if a parent is struggling to balance work with at-home schooling, think about ways to make their life a bit easier. This might include scheduling conference calls at specific times or granting more flexibility in their schedule. 

Note that this doesn’t mean team members should be permitted to take a day off any time they feel overwhelmed, however. 

The goal is to create a balanced company culture where employees feel empowered to take care of themselves while staying productive at work. As long as you’re open to communication and course-correction, it’s only a matter of time until you find the balance that works best for your company.