• Bill Brown

How to Help Employees' Mental Health and Improve Productivity


While the COVID-19 pandemic has understandably brought employee wellbeing to the forefront, it's important to remember that this is an issue that should be taken seriously year-round. Unfortunately, too many employees feel unsupported and overwhelmed in their roles. Employee wellbeing is one of the most critical factors for an organization. It can help businesses achieve higher productivity and lower turnover rates.


A study by Harvard Business School surveyed 1,600 managers from a range of industries and found that 82 percent of managers feel they need more training to support employee mental health. Not only is this the right thing to do for your people, but it can also improve productivity and the bottom line. (“National Industrial Recycling Company - Quincy Recycle”) In fact, research has shown that investing in employee mental health has resulted in a return on investment of up to $2.30 for every dollar spent.


Employee wellbeing is an important topic that is constantly being researched and discussed. There are many ways to improve employee wellbeing, but some general tips include providing a comfortable work environment, promoting positive attitudes and behaviors, and providing opportunities for employees to develop their skills.


While it is essential for employees to take care of their mental health and wellbeing, organizations also have a responsibility to their workers. In times of stress or crisis, it is crucial that employers provide the resources and support for their employees.


Symptoms of Stress and Grief to look out for in Employees


Stress and grief are both common symptoms of traumatic events. They can manifest in different ways, depending on the individual. To improve employee wellbeing, it is essential to recognize and address any signs of stress or grief in employees.


Some signs that an employee may struggle with stress or grief are if there is tardiness, absence from work, missing work deadlines, or a decline in productivity. Employees may also exhibit changes in mood, behavior, or appearance.


If you notice an employee is exhibiting any of these signs, it is vital to approach them with sensitivity and support. It may be helpful to ask them if they are okay and see if they would like to talk about what is going on. You can also provide resources such as Employee Assistance Programs or mental health support groups.


Workplace Culture's Role in Workers' Mental Health and Well-Being


The workplace culture has a significant impact on the mental health and wellbeing of employees. A study conducted in 2018 by the Mental Health Commission of Canada found workplace culture is a critical factor in employees' mental health.


A 2012 study by the National Institute of Mental Health surveyed 1,000 employees and found that employees who feel supported and appreciated at work are more likely to report high levels of job satisfaction and positive emotions, such as happiness. In addition, a 2017 study by Gallup surveyed 7,500 employees and found that employees who feel engaged in their work are more productive and less likely to experience stress or burnout. They were also more likely to be happy with their job and less likely to leave their company.


Given these findings, it is vital for employers to create a workplace culture that supports workers' mental health and wellbeing. Here are some things employers can do:

  • Promote healthy work-life balance and wellbeing by offering workplace stress management programs, Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), and wellness programs,

  • Provide employees with feedback about their performance,

  • Advocate for workplace policies that support workers' mental health,

  • Offer flexible working arrangements (e.g., flexible schedules, work from home, job sharing, etc.),

  • Encourage employees to speak up if they feel like they're experiencing an issue and provide a safe space (a place where employees can openly talk about their mental health without fear of judgment or retribution) where they can do so,

  • Provide employees with opportunities to develop their skills,

  • Offer mental health leave.

To create a healthy workplace culture, organizations need to promote positive attitudes and behaviors, provide a comfortable work environment, and support employees in times of need.


How to Support Your Employees' Mental Health Needs at Work


When it comes to employee mental health, you can do a few things to support them.


First, be aware of the signs of stress and grief, and be supportive if an employee exhibits these symptoms. Managers are the company's face to many employees, and as an employer, you must ensure that you set them up for success. Employers can provide their managers with the following tools and resources to ensure success in supporting their employees' mental health:

  • Mental health first aid training for managers,

  • Provide information, training, and resources on mental health support groups,

  • Have executives and managers undergo training in recognizing the signs of mental illness in employees and how to support them best,

  • Create a workplace policy that promotes positive attitudes and behaviors toward mental health, and make sure it is up-to-date with the latest research on mental health in the workplace,

  • Conduct regular surveys, focus groups, and one-on-one meetings. Doing so allows employers to understand better how their employees are feeling, and it also makes employees feel like their employer cares about their wellbeing.

By implementing some of these strategies, employers can create a workplace culture that supports employees' mental health and wellbeing.


Second, create a workplace culture that supports mental health. This includes advocating for workplace policies that support workers' mental health, promoting healthy work-life balance, and providing employees with opportunities to develop their skills.


Third, provide employees with the resources they need to manage their mental health. This includes Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), mental health support groups, and flexible working arrangements.


Finally, make sure that you provide opportunities for employees to talk about their feelings and experiences. This can help them feel supported, create a positive work environment, help them connect to the company culture, and show you're supporting their mental health.


Examples of companies who've done this successfully


There are many ways to improve employee well-being, and companies have successfully achieved various goals through various programs and initiatives.

Some examples of companies that have successfully improved employee mental health and wellbeing include Apple, Google, and Telstra.


Apple has a strong focus on employee health and offers many resources to its employees, such as an online program that provides mental health education and resources, peer support groups for employees with common mental health conditions, and a 24/7 phone line for employees who need immediate help. In addition, the company provides employees with a wellness allowance to use on health and fitness programs of their choice.


Google has several initiatives to improve employee well-being. These include providing employees with a monthly stipend for wellness activities, offering free meditation classes, and a wellness room where employees can relax or take a nap.


Telstra offers its employees access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which provides employees with counseling and support for mental health issues. The company also offers several mental health training courses for employees and flexible working arrangements.


These are just a few examples of how companies can improve employee wellbeing. Each company is different and will have its own unique set of initiatives and programs.

Mental health issues are a critical issue for employees and employers alike. By creating a workplace culture that supports mental health, employers can help improve employee productivity and wellbeing. In addition, many companies find that promoting mental health is good for business, as it can help attract and retain top talent.


Managers are your first line of defense in helping employees with their mental health. Creating a workplace culture that supports mental health means being proactive about the issue and encouraging employees to speak up if they feel like they're experiencing a problem. It also means providing the tools, resources, and training to employees to manage their mental health.


If you're looking for more resources on how to promote mental health in your workplace, please visit the following websites:

  1. MentalHealth.gov provides resources and information on mental health for individuals, families, and communities.

  2. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) provides information on mental health research, treatment, and education.

  3. American Psychological Association (APA) -This website provides information on stress, burnout, and managing mental health in the workplace.

  4. HeadsUpGuys - provides information and resources for men who experience depression and anxiety.

  5. Mental Health America - MHA » Workplace - provides information on workplace mental health and how to create a mentally healthy workplace.

The bottom line is that promoting mental health in the workplace is good for business. By creating a culture that supports mental health, employers can improve employee productivity and wellbeing. In addition, many companies find that promoting mental health is good for business, as it can help attract and retain top talent.


While employers need to provide their workers with the resources and support, they need to maintain their mental health; it is also crucial that employers provide their managers with training on what to look for. Managers are uniquely positioned to identify when an employee is struggling and could use some help. Not only will this help employees get the care they need, but it will also improve productivity in the workplace. We hope this article has given you a few ideas about how you can support your employees' mental health needs at work. If you're looking for more information or want help putting together a plan, please reach out to us at Think People.Culture. We have years of experience helping businesses create healthy and productive workplace culture.






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