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Barry Mount

 Tags: Mental Health

Wellness programs are no longer a novelty—they’re a necessity in business today. Mental health issues, including stress, anxiety, addiction, and depression, are common in the workplace. In the GTA alone, 1.5 million employees experience mental health problems. You cannot ignore the issue.

After all, healthy employees are good for your bottom line. By encouraging employee mental wellness at your organization, you can slash healthcare premiums, disability claims, and WSIB claims, cut down on absenteeism and presenteeism, while boosting morale, productivity, and efficiency. That all means better business for you.

To promote a psychologically healthy workplace, here are some ways you can encourage employee mental wellness.

1. Promote Work-Life Balance

The office can be a stressful place. When your employees face big workloads, tight deadlines, and long hours, their mental health can suffer. Their stress and anxiety levels can skyrocket. And this will take its toll on your business and your employees’ health.

Work-life balance has many benefits for both you and your employees. Not only will productivity and morale increase, but your employees will be happier and have increased job satisfaction as well. Offering flexible hours or work-from-home arrangements, for example, can enable your employees to reduce their stress by being able to manage their home lives more efficiently.

2. Discourage Working Vacation

Vacations are supposed to rejuvenate and refresh the mind. If your employees are checking their emails every day while on vacation, working on a project, or staying in contact with their team members, they won’t be able to relax. This can have many negative effects for your employees’ mental health, including burnout and an increase in personal problems.

Discourage working vacations for your employees’ sake.

3. Create an Open and Non-Judgmental Environment

Employees with mental health issues often struggle in silence due to the stigma that surrounds them. They might not open up about their struggles in fear of being judged or penalized.

By creating an open and non-judgmental environment, and working to squash the stigma in the workplace, you can help your employees feel more comfortable and safe about opening up. This can allow them to get the help they need.

4. Provide Good Insurance

If you offer your employees health insurance, take a close look at what’s offered. Are your employees able to charge psychotherapy sessions and other mental health-related expenses to the plan? If not, consider changing your plan to include these types of health expenses. This can give your employees the means to prevent mental health problems from occurring and seek treatment when required.

5. Encourage Employee Exercise

Physical exercise does a wealth of good not only for the body, but also for the mind. Because exercise releases endorphins, it can reduce stress and anxiety and even help with depression. But sometimes, employees don’t have the time to be physically active. After all, they’re sitting at their desks for eight hours a day, and then they must go home and take care of their familial responsibilities.

You can encourage employee mental wellness by creating exercise initiatives at the workplace. For example, add bike racks to encourage workers to bike to work; get an instructor to come in to teach a yoga session in the morning; team up with a local gym to offer discounted rates; encourage group participation in fun runs or local marathons; invest in under-the-desk peddling machines or treadmill desks; or allow for longer lunches to give employees time to exercise and shower.

Encouraging employee mental wellness doesn’t have to be costly or cumbersome. These are five simple ways to create a positive, mentally healthy work environment that your employees will love to work in.

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Barry Mount

Barry has 33 years of insurance experience and has spent 27 years specializing in employee benefits. He has a CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter) designation and is a current and past member of Advisory Boards. When he’s not working, Barry is happiest sharing time with his spouse, children, and grandchildren, while fitting in many great times with friends. He loves to travel and finds great pleasure in the time he spends giving back to his community through his involvement with the Rotary Club of Whitby-Sunrise.
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