Supporting employee mental health in 2022

Mental health in the workplace and the importance of supporting employee mental health has risen up the business agenda in the last two years. What should we be doing in 2022?

Introduction

Numerous surveys have evidenced the impact of the last couple of years on our mental health, specifically the increased incidence of mental ill health including anxiety and depression.  Supporting mental health in the workplace is:

• Business critical – our mental health affects how we show up and perform at work.  The collective impact of employees experiencing poor mental health is significant to organisational success.

• The right thing to do – we support physical ill health; we need to respond to mental ill health in the same way.

As we move into 2022 the uncertainty in the world is going. We are dealing with both specific challenges and the cumulative impact. It is more important than ever that we recognise this within the workplace.

    What should we consider when supporting employee mental health in the workplace?

    • Think beyond your Wellbeing Policy – Specific interventions are valuable however, we should remember that our overall mental and psychological wellbeing is affected by every element of our experience at work including organisational culture, leadership style, job design, work environment, etc.  

    • Every employee is unique and will be managing their own mix of challenges – Consider how each can be supported in a way that also meets organisational needs, working with a solution-focused rather than problem-based approach. We often forget the simplest way is to ask someone what would be helpful for them.

    • Leaders and managers are people too – We often read about what managers should be doing to support others. We need to remember that regardless of position in the organisation they will be facing challenges and benefit from appropriate support.

            How can you support employee mental health?

            • Include mental health as an element of organisation strategy. This is not just about HR policy. When measuring impact look beyond absence rates, the effect of poor mental health is far wider. Include it as part of an impact assessment for any planned changes to ascertain how employee’s wellbeing will be affected.

            Equip Managers with the skills and confidence to have open, supportive, and constructive conversations with their team members.

            • Raise awareness and increase understanding of mental health and mental ill health so employees can recognise the symptoms in themselves and others. Consider implementing Mental Health First Aid as part of this. Strive to develop a culture that removes stigma and where all employees feel able to be open about how they are feeling, when things start to feel difficult, so there can be a focus on prevention and support.

            • Look at organisational working habits. This is often overlooked and has a significant impact on our wellbeing. Look at how people are working – do they take proper breaks, what flexibility is offered, has an ‘always on’ culture developed, what opportunities are there for people to connect at a personal level, etc. Then consider what changes could be made ensuring explicit permission is given e.g. not responding to emails out of working hours.

                    Contact us for details

                    To learn more about how you can equip your managers to support employees, and raise awareness across your organisation please get in touch.

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