It’s easy to talk about mental health at home or in a religious setting—but what about mental health in the workplace?
Protecting you and your team’s mental health in the workplace is just as important as in other areas of life, and yet Americans aren’t as quick to talk about it. It’s almost as if constant stress and anxiety at work are supposed to be common and shouldn’t be complained about.
But that’s the kind of thinking that can lead to a mental breakdown.
Don’t believe me? Then consider listening to the World Health Organization (WHO), which reports that a negative work environment can have serious consequences on mental health.
And these consequences aren’t just personal—stress and depression can impact your business, too. The same WHO study shows that depression and anxiety cost the global economy up to $1 trillion per year in lost productivity.
In light of that statistic, it’s safe to say mental health in the workplace matters, including at your company.
So how do you protect your and your employees’ mental health? Let’s explore 7 strategies that any leader can implement.
1. Learn about mental health in the workplace and educate your employees.
You can discover plenty of helpful information about mental health from the CDC, the WHO, and the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
If you have the budget, it can be worthwhile to hire a professional to come to your office and train the entire company on mental health in the workplace.
Or perhaps training seminars aren’t in your budget. You can still educate your employees through in-house training, emails, and videos staff can watch when convenient for them.
Just remember: As a business owner or manager, you can’t afford not to educate yourself and your staff on mental health.
2. Set your boundaries and respect them.
By boundaries, we mean knowing where you draw the line when it comes to how much you’ll allow work to take over your life.
If you’re leading a startup company, this might seem like a pipe dream. But it’s really not. Choosing to set your work boundaries is always a choice.
Examples of workplace boundaries might be…
- You won’t work past 7 p.m. or more than 2 hours on a weekend.
- You won’t continue working with a client who verbally abuses you or your team.
- You won’t take last-minute tasks when you’re already swimming in deadlines.
Let these examples serve as a springboard for you to choose your own boundaries. (And be sure to take your family into consideration as you flesh these out.)
In the same vein, it’s important that you respect not only your own work boundaries but also your employees’. Set an example to show them that you value their mental health above your company’s bottom line.
Remember that employees who believe their leader has their best interest at heart will always outproduce employees who feel undervalued.
3. Check in with yourself and your team regularly.
When running a team or an entire company, it’s easy to get caught up in the rush of busy work.
Don’t fall for that trap. Take time every day—or at least every week—to take stock and ask yourself how you’re doing emotionally.
Do this for your employees as well. When you meet with your employees, do you only discuss their work habits? Or do you also take time to ask them how they’re feeling about their position, their workload, and their stress level?
4. Express gratitude multiple times a day.
This strategy may not sound like much, but it’s one the best ways defend against negative thinking. It’s no secret that the more you dwell on the negative, the more stressed you’ll become.
The opposite is also true. The more you choose to think about (and verbally express) what you’re grateful for at your job and with your team, the better you can combat stress.
Take this idea a step further and make sure to express gratitude to your team for all their hard work. Be quick to point out what they’re doing right.
5. Protect mental health at home.
Encouraging mental health in the workplace starts with protecting it at home. You’d be surprised how far simple healthy habits can go in fighting stress and anxiety.
Here are some easy stress-fighting tips from the CDC:
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat healthy foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains, etc.).
- Limit junk food and processed food.
- Drink plenty of water each day.
- Take up some creative habits that have nothing to do with your job.
6. Cultivate a workplace environment of collaboration and teamwork.
Like we’ve talked about before, a lack of teamwork can cause your team to miss important deadlines, botch a project, or create an unhealthy work environment.
On the flipside, as you cultivate a strong sense of teamwork and collaboration, your employees will work more efficiently and report a higher sense of morale.
Want to decrease your employees’ stress? Teach them how to work together and communicate clearly.
7. Automate processes wherever possible.
Some employees are stressed out and anxious because they simply have too much to do with too little time.
A practical way to combat this stress is to save them time by automating certain tasks.
One of our favorite ways to do this is with custom rubber stamps!
Stamps give you a quick and easy way to mark invoice, label files, provide your signature on letters and important documents, and mark your return address on mail.