Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs) have an increasingly difficult job of helping manage employees and supporting their well-being to ensure a productive, positive relationship for both the employee and the business as a whole. Building a foundation of emotional wellness is a crucial element of this pursuit.
But workplace burnout, stress, and anxiety caused by COVID-19 and other events can stand in the way, especially during a turbulent economy. In a recent article published by Human Resource Executive, they noted that:
“Burnout keeps building for employees after a year of pandemic-related anxiety and isolation, heavier workloads, and little to no time off.”
While it's impossible for CHROs to resolve all of these problems, addressing them can make the workplace better and increase mental resilience for your team. Consider these five mental health tips for the workplace.
1. OFFER MENTAL HEALTH DAYS
When employees feel anxious about their job security or the state of the economy, they may become even more reluctant to use PTO days. However, that can be when employees need time off — and reassurance that it's okay to take time off — the most.
Along with PTO, we recommend that companies offer mental health days and personal days that don't need to be approved through the usual process. Your company's standard PTO approval processes may be too long or offer too much uncertainty for employees who need a break. Also, individuals on your team may feel uncomfortable expressing the need for a mental break. Offering a couple of days without a barrier can relieve stress and give your team an option they may desperately need.
This can be tricky whether you need to have employees on-premises and shortages are hard to cover or if your employees work digitally from home and they can't separate themselves from their personal technology. But creating processes to offer mental health days while substantively solving these challenges will ultimately improve employee morale and mental wellness.
2. PROMOTE CONFIDENTIALITY
Just like employees might not feel comfortable advertising that they're taking a mental health day, they may not feel comfortable discussing mental health at all at work. There is a stigma surrounding needing support for mental health, and it can affect everything from work relationships to long-term growth and opportunities in the company.
Your job as CHRO is to promote an environment that's supportive and openly advocates for mental health and wellness — but it's not that easy. In the meantime, creating a guarantee of confidentiality and anonymity for employees looking for support is crucial.
Create opportunities for employees to speak with you or use an employee assistance program without their managers or coworkers being aware of it. Once employees are open to using mental health resources, that makes the transition to an open, mentally healthy workplace easier — and it decreases stigma along the way.
3. RECOGNIZE BURNOUT
Many employees have always been vulnerable to stress and burnout. But COVID-19 significantly exacerbated the problem. The switch to remote work and lingering anxiety about job security led to workers creating unhealthy routines with long days and much less work-life separation. Not only did this affect their productivity, but it negatively impacted their health and increased their risk of substance abuse.
There are two ways CHROs should recognize burnout:
- Treat burnout as a real concern, rather than a dramatic exaggeration or simply stress. By establishing an environment in which burnout is taken seriously, people in your company will feel more comfortable talking about and taking steps to resolve it.
- Recognize when individual employees are suffering burnout. Then, during performance reports on one-on-ones, you can initiate conversations about their motivations and current struggles.
If burnout has increased in your organization, look for areas where you can help increase work-life balance and decrease stress. When employees become overscheduled or overworked, that can hurt their mental health, physical health, and career.
4. OVER-COMMUNICATE SUPPORT
As part of resolving the stigmas surrounding mental health, you should communicate frequently and across multiple different platforms. No matter what the communication is — about mental health days, about EAP informational sessions, or about relaxation resources — there's no such thing as too much communication.
Communicate frequently to groups and individuals that you're available to discuss productivity and mental health at any time. Also, create interactions with employees: implement one-on-ones, have a regular schedule of check-ins on your to-do list, and have team meetings depending on your company's dynamic.
5. OFFER MENTAL HEALTH EAP ASSISTANCE
An employee assistance program (EAP) can be the cornerstone of your increased efforts to promote mental wellness and address burnout. The first step is ensuring that your company offers an EAP package, which many employers don't.
However, even if your company offers this program, your employees may not be aware of it or its benefits. It's your job to communicate (and over communicate) these benefits, keep resources easily available, and advocate for more robust programs that include therapy, counseling, and other assistance.
Making mental health more prominent in your company's benefits packages both underlines the importance of this topic and gives employees more resources to fit their individual needs best.
WRAP UP EMPLOYEE RECOVERY IS YOUR RESOURCE FOR EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS (EAPS)
EAP programs give your company's employees multiple different resources to seek help for stress, burnout, substance abuse, and more. But your employees may not be aware of your company's benefits — and your company might not be offering the right benefits for your team's current needs.
Employee Recovery is here to help. We assist and support employers who want to add or improve EAP plans through their company. We specialize in EAPs that address substance abuse and mental health disorders so employers can help their company and their individual employees maintain healthy, productive employment.
Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you in your mission to improve workplace mental health. You can also visit our blog for more insights and mental health tips for the workplace.
>> Click here to get more information on everything you need to know about EAP mental health resources.
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