Mentally Healthy Workplaces Create Better Business Outcomes

As business owners and managers, there are three main reasons to prioritize the mental well-being of your staff.

It’s not just a trippy hippy wellness concept that you just have to worry about when everything else in your business is sorted (will it ever be?), and also, ask everything the world of taking a cup of concrete and hardening it has a proven track record of failure. Here’s why:

First, the carrots. There is ethics. Building a strong and supportive work culture is the morally right thing to do. It makes us better people. Research also shows that mentally healthy workplaces perform significantly better than unhealthy ones, outperforming indicators of productivity and efficiency.

Then the stick. Every employer has a legal duty under occupational health and safety legislation to protect their team members from harm, and this includes mental and physical safety. Very harsh penalties – including criminal records and jail time – exist in some states.

But as scary as it sounds to many of us, the thought of having these conversations with someone we employ is even more terrifying. Aren’t everyone’s emotions their business?

Yes and no.

Most people don’t feel comfortable disclosing their mental health at work. Pre-COVID-19 data from insurance company Allianz showed that 78% of employees feared it would cost them their jobs. Another 78% said they thought there would be negative repercussions, while 69% feared being treated unfairly. Ouch! That’s why most of us—89%—feel more comfortable pretending to have a physical illness (migraine, sore throat, or stomach ache) if we need time to occupy ourselves. something personal or a mental health issue.

As an employer, it’s not up to you to fix your staff. None of us can do this for another person. And we can’t even force people to fix themselves. But it is important to leave our judgment at the door.

Our primary responsibilities as employers are to: not make our employees worse off because of their work environment; create a workplace free from discrimination; and treat with confidentiality and respect any information shared by an employee. We achieve these goals by creating workplaces where trust is strong.

Mentally healthy workplaces protect their team members by having work practices that prevent harm, they manage and support the recovery of team members when they are having difficult times, and they promote good well-being. being mental by creating flourishing cultures that flow.

This all sounds good, but how do we do this? Well, the number one skill in all of this is the ability to truly listen to your people. And when we say listen, we really mean listening and leaving space for your team member to speak. Do not intervene, do not try to solve their problems, do not give them advice. Just listen to them.

Create time in your week and month to connect informally and encourage your team leaders to do the same. A casual coffee, a shared lunch, a mentoring session, or even just a walk around the parking lot. Learn about partners, children, pets, life goals and how they track.

If a team member comes up to you and asks for a chat, don’t try to squeeze them between a sales call and a difficult meeting with a supplier. Turn off the phone and create some space.

If you’ve noticed that his behavior seems a little off, share your observations with him and ask him if he’s okay. Once they’ve shared that trust with you, ask them what they or they need to get well, or what you can do to support them. But let them answer.

Our goal as employers should be to ensure that we lead teams that not only adapt, but thrive. Creating strong cultures that foster trust, are non-judgmental, and care about each other are not only more enjoyable to work in, but they work better, are more profitable, and can create deeper, lasting relationships.

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