Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
It is estimated that about one in five adults in the United States is living with a mental illness. This includes a wide variety of conditions that can have a mild or severe impact on a person’s daily life.
Like it or not, workplace stressors can sometimes contribute to or exacerbate mental health problems. In fact, surveys show that one in four employees experience weekly performance problems related to stress, anxiety and work-related pressure, while 63 percent report struggling monthly.
Therefore, employers have a responsibility to ensure the mental and emotional well-being of their employees. While you can’t control everything that affects an employee’s mental health, there are simple things employers can do to foster a positive influence in the office.
Promote mental health awareness
Destigmatizing discussions about mental health in the office often starts with awareness. Company leaders must provide adequate resources and information to employees to help them learn more about mental health and where to turn for help when needed. These resources should also include information on addiction recovery, as substance abuse is often associated with mental health problems.
Mental health training can be especially beneficial for those in management positions. Training leaders within your organization on how to recognize depression, anxiety, and other psychological symptoms — as well as appropriate intervention techniques — can help them deal with struggling team members in a supportive and beneficial way.
Provide stress-relieving break activities
Work-related pressures can make the office environment (or even working from home) more stressful than it needs to be. Managers can do something about this by regularly organizing healthy break activities for the whole team. For example, practicing yoga has been found to significantly reduce stress and anxiety in both children and adults. Scheduling an onsite yoga session (or even virtual yoga for your work-from-home team) with a local instructor can help release tension and teach employees a valuable coping activity.
Alternatively, you can set up wellness stations that employees can use for their breaks during the day. Spaces for meditation or stretching, or even providing adult coloring books can serve as a valuable mental health break. Don’t be afraid to let your team go outside and enjoy the fresh air too! Provide employees who work from home with scheduled breaks throughout the day to encourage them to distance themselves from their computers.
Show genuine interest in employee wellbeing
Much of our self-esteem comes from knowing that others value and care about us. This is especially true in the workplace, where studies show that simply ‘feeling valued’ at work improves mental health, as well as job satisfaction and engagement. Helping employees feel valued starts with showing genuine interest in their lives. Make an effort to remember details about their personal lives, such as the names of their relatives and what their weekend plans are.
Related: How Entrepreneurs Can Protect Their Mental Health While Being Their Own Boss
Lead by example to eliminate stigma
Workplace perceptions of mental health and other issues start at the top. Even if your company has official policies related to mental health, discussions and attitudes toward these initiatives will be based largely on the words and actions of leaders.
This does not mean that you have to tell all the details of your own problems and challenges to your staff. But being open enough to share when you’re feeling overwhelmed or having a rough day can empower and empower others.
Honesty and openness let everyone know that it’s okay to share how they feel and that it’s normal to have a bad day. Your personal actions will have a trickle down to how others are willing to talk about mental health in the workplace.
Communicate regularly to manage stress in the workplace
Like it or not, stress often results from the work your employees do for you day in and day out. In fact, the ASI Workplace Stress Survey reports that workload is the leading cause of stress at work, cited by 41 percent of respondents. Another 18 percent cited reconciling work and private life as a major stressor.
Related: 5 Ways to Protect Your Mental Health
Leaders have a responsibility to ensure that the workload is appropriate for each member of their team. Managers should meet regularly with their employees to discuss these and other challenges in order to gain an understanding of everyone’s workload. It is not appropriate for an employee to regularly turn in 60-hour weeks because of the amount for which he is responsible. Don’t be afraid to embrace the growing “chill work” mentality, which focuses on producing high-quality work while still setting boundaries to prevent the work from becoming overwhelming. Often less responsibility means the job is done better.
Understanding when employees feel overwhelmed can help leaders determine when to adjust workloads or even hire additional staff.
Business leaders can make a difference
Your employees spend a significant portion of their week working at your company – and as such, what happens in the workplace can have a major impact on their mental health. When leaders take steps to address the mental and emotional well-being of their employees, employees will improve their job performance, productivity and engagement. They will be better communicators.
Being involved in your team’s mental health doesn’t just improve bottom line. Most importantly, these steps will make your team members more likely to be happy, healthy and able to handle all the challenges in their lives.
This post 5 easy ways to do more for your employees’ mental health this week was original published at “https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/428287”