AZ Big Media Increased priority on mental health in the workplace: 12 things managers have learned so far

In a survey, 92% of CEOs said their companies put more emphasis on mental health after the pandemic.

What is one thing you have learned/taken away from the increased focus on mental health in your organization?

To help your workplace prioritize the mental health of its employees, we posed this question to managers and HR professionals to learn their best strategies. From implementing a holistic employee wellness program to including psychotherapy in wellness initiatives, several ideas can help you make mental health a priority in your workplace.


READ ALSO: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona commits $5 million to mental health


Here are 12 takeaways from the increased focus on mental health in the workplace:

  • Establish a holistic employee wellness program
  • Avoid quick fixes and aim for lasting solutions
  • Promote employee wellness benefits to boost productivity
  • Enforce work/life balance by turning off
  • Build a strong support system
  • Do not offer a one-size-fits-all health program
  • Remember that progress and results are gradual
  • Educate employees about mental health apps without obligation
  • Provide a Mental Health Awareness Toolkit
  • Foster an environment for healthy conversations
  • Include psychotherapy in wellness initiatives
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Increased priority on mental health in the workplace: 12 things managers have learned so far

Establish a holistic employee wellness program

One thing I took away from this increased focus on mental health is that it is in no way separate from our overall physical health. We tend to talk about mental health as a whole thing and sometimes forget to recognize that our mental health is just one aspect of our overall physical health. Of course, it is essential that we offer staff services such as counseling, compassionate PTO policies and a safe and inclusive workplace, but physically healthy and active teams will find it much easier to manage stress and professional and personal anxiety. That’s why implementing a holistic employee wellness program is the best way to improve the health of our teams.

Stephane Lumiere, Mattress Nola

Avoid quick fixes and aim for lasting solutions

When an employee feels exhausted, stressed or overworked, the solution is not to give them free access to a yoga platform or teach them how to meditate. What we have learned is that only by addressing the real problem will we find lasting solutions that will truly have a positive impact on the mental health of our employees. Sustainable solutions can range from restructuring the responsibilities of our employees to hiring new people to relieve the work of the rest of the team or allowing our employees to work flexible hours that fit their schedules.

Jessica Ulloa, MyPerfectResume

Promote employee wellness benefits to boost productivity

Business owners are now reassessing the impact of employee mental health on productivity. For example, since the start of the pandemic, unlimited time off, hybrid and remote work schedules, and even increased mental health benefits have all become more widely discussed in companies. Improving employee well-being benefits individual team members and the overall success of your business.

Breanne Millette, KISSING

Enforce work/life balance by turning off

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the importance of disconnecting. During the pandemic, working remotely made things a bit difficult to coordinate, that we ended up working beyond our scheduled hours. There was no respect for work/life balance as we had no life and knew everyone was ‘stuck’ at home. This was misinterpreted as “available for work” and ended up causing more stress, fewer boundaries, and people not knowing when to switch off.

That’s when we started reminding people about working hours, the importance of disconnecting, taking the PTO to relax and recharge, and having a work/life balance. consistent with a system that requires you to clock in after a certain period. Learning to Disconnect has also helped us focus on benefits, wellness programs, and group activities focused on improving employee mental health and wellbeing.

Michel Nemeroff, Rush Order T-shirts

Build a strong support system

If your employees aren’t healthy, neither is your business. The pandemic caused our team to have conversations about the world or what might be going on in our families – we all quickly realized that work should have been like this from the start. If an employee goes through something and isn’t supported effectively, we are all affected, and so is this company. There is no doubt that employee health equals business health.

Caesar Cruz, Sebastien Cruz Couture

Do not offer a one-size-fits-all health program

As organizations begin to prioritize mental health in their teams, they might want to standardize it, to ensure everyone receives the same level of care at all levels. However, mental health issues often require an array of care that can range from generous time off to securing employer-sponsored insurance with additional support for those who need extra support with Mental Health.

It’s important to provide all of these care options to your team so you can ensure they can be productive members of your team and active participants in the workplace and in their lives outside of work. Companies should tailor their mental health needs to their specific workplace by meeting with team members and seeing what they need. This can help you really hone in on what kind of support you can and should offer to better serve your employees.

Kyle Risley, Vault Elevator

Remember that progress and results are gradual

By prioritizing mental health in our organization even more post-COVID, I can say that you can recover quickly and easily if your life is going well. It means that if you have a good job, a secure future, a healthy body, and the freedom to live the way you want, I think it makes recovery easier. But that doesn’t mean it’s an instant fix. The way you go to the gym to build a stronger body is exactly how you build mental toughness. It is an ongoing process with gradual results.

There are exercises and practices that specifically help you reduce your doubts, boost your confidence, manage feelings of stress, and develop a positive and strong mindset. But, again, it will take time.

Joe Troyer, ReviewGrower

Educate employees about mental health apps without obligation

With technological innovations in mental health, I have seen my team become more open to accepting the support offered to them. Where some people may be hesitant to go to traditional therapy sessions, they might be willing to try a meditation app or a virtual date. Once they open the door to less formal mental health support tools, they begin to see results and feel better, becoming more open-minded to try other types of support. Since this support is available without the need for a face-to-face conversation with a manager, much of the pressure or anxiety of getting help is removed. We’ve come a long way, and technology will continue to improve, creating new ways to deliver mental health care to our teams.

Anthony Martin, Mutual Choice

Provide a Mental Health Awareness Toolkit

I’ve learned to proactively offer a mental health awareness toolkit to my employees whenever I see signs of fatigue on the job. Mental health issues already existed in the workplace before the global pandemic. However, employers seem to ignore the emotional needs of employees due to a lack of awareness or simply because they don’t care. We want to break this cycle of emotional neglect and make sure our employees get the help they need.

By providing a comprehensive list of resources that offer emotional assistance, we hope to reduce workplace stress and anxiety. The toolkit includes essential names of institutions with available psychiatrists, a mental health department toll-free number, and many more. That said, the ultimate lesson we take away from this experience is to always support our employees and tell them that it’s okay to ask for help, especially when they’re mentally exhausted.

Lilia Tovbin, BigMailer.io

Foster an environment for healthy conversations

Job anxiety and stress can lead to burnout and impact the employee outside of the workplace. It is therefore essential that companies invest monthly in open communication and resources for the mental health and well-being of employees. Companies can best start a conversation by hosting mental health seminars, raising awareness through internal platforms, and offering additional support in their benefits package. Something as simple as a mental health day can be hugely beneficial for employees, and companies should encourage staff to follow them. When employees feel mentally supported in the workplace, it leads to increased job satisfaction and higher work productivity.

Jodi Neuhauser, ovaterra

Include psychotherapy in wellness initiatives

Adding psychotherapy sessions to our employee wellness program has significantly reduced mental health issues in our business. Prior to the pandemic, we primarily focused our wellness initiatives on physical aspects like installing gym equipment and allocating walking paths in the workplace. Later, however, we learned that taking care of one’s well-being was more than the physical part.

During the pandemic, we realized that our employees were also fighting emotional battles that physical workouts could not alleviate. This is why we have firmly decided to offer them a free monthly session with an expert in psychotherapy. So far, this has been a successful initiative, and we have no plans to stop this perk as long as it keeps our people mentally fit.

Adam Garcia, Dork Stock

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