Employee Well-being and Mental Health Checks: Why They Matter More Than Ever
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the way we work. Many people are now operating on a hybrid schedule or working from home; all are facing new challenges and struggling to balance work, family, and personal responsibilities. These changes have taken a toll on employee well-being, with increased levels of stress, anxiety, and burnout.
Now that we are entering a post-pandemic era, it’s clear that employee well-being and mental health should be top priority for employers. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense. Healthy, happy employees are more productive, engaged, and creative, which ultimately leads to better business outcomes.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the importance of employee well-being and mental health checks, and how employers can prioritize and support their employees’ well-being.
What is Employee Well-being?
Employee well-being refers to the physical, mental, and emotional health of employees. It encompasses a broad range of factors, including work-life balance, stress levels, job satisfaction, and social support.
When employees are happy and healthy, they are more likely to be engaged and productive, and less likely to experience burnout or leave their jobs. In fact, a recent study by the World Health Organization found that businesses that invest in employee well-being see a return on investment of up to six times.
The Impact of the Pandemic on Employee Well-being
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on employee well-being. A recent survey by the Society for Human Resource Management found that 41% of employees feel burnt out from their work, and 21% say their mental health has declined since the pandemic began.
Working from home has also presented new challenges for employees, including isolation, lack of social interaction, and difficulty separating work from personal life. These challenges have made it more important than ever for employers to prioritize employee well-being and mental health.
The Importance of Mental Health Checks
One way employers can prioritize employee well-being is by implementing mental health checks. Mental health checks are a way for employers to assess the mental health of their employees and provide support and resources when needed.
There are several ways employers can implement mental health checks, including regular check-ins with employees, anonymous surveys, and access to mental health resources and support services.
For example, at Unilever, employees are encouraged to take a “mental health day” once a year, which allows them to take a day off work to focus on their mental health. The company also offers an employee assistance program (EAP) that provides confidential counseling and support to employees.
The Benefits of Mental Health Checks
Implementing mental health checks can have numerous benefits for both employees and employers. For employees, mental health checks can provide a safe space to discuss any mental health concerns they may have, and access to resources and support to address those concerns.
For employers, mental health checks can lead to increased productivity, improved employee engagement and retention, and reduced healthcare costs. According to a study by the American Psychiatric Association, employers who invest in mental health programs see an average return on investment of $4 for every $1 spent.
How to Implement Mental Health Checks
Implementing mental health checks requires a commitment from employers to prioritize employee well-being and create a culture of openness and support around mental health.
Here are some steps employers can take to implement mental health checks:
- Train managers to recognize signs of mental health issues and provide support to employees.
- Offer mental health resources and support services, such as an employee assistance program (EAP), access to mental health professionals, and/or life coaches.
- Encourage open communication and provide a safe space for employees to discuss any mental health concerns they may have.
- Conduct regular well-being & mental health checks.
According to a survey conducted by the American Psychiatric Association, nearly half of U.S. workers say they have experienced anxiety related to the pandemic, and one in five say they have experienced depression. Providing mental health resources can help employees manage these challenges and maintain good mental health.
Examples of mental health resources can include counseling services, employee assistance programs, and other resources that can help employees manage stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
Another important aspect of employee well-being is providing opportunities for professional development and growth. This includes training programs, mentoring, and other resources that help employees build their skills and advance in their careers. According to a recent study by Deloitte, employees who feel that their employers are invested in their professional development are more likely to be engaged and satisfied with their jobs.
Employers can also promote employee well-being by creating a positive work culture that supports work-life balance and emphasizes the importance of taking breaks and self-care. This can include offering flexible work arrangements, encouraging employees to take time off when needed, and providing resources and support for managing stress and anxiety. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 80% of U.S. employers now offer some form of flexible work arrangement, such as telecommuting or flexible schedules.
In addition to these strategies, many employers are now implementing regular mental health checks to help monitor employee well-being and identify potential issues before they become more serious.
These mental health checks can be especially valuable for remote workers, who may feel more isolated and less likely to seek out support on their own. A study by Harvard Business Review indicated that remote workers are more likely to report feeling lonely and disconnected from their colleagues, which can contribute to stress and burnout. By implementing regular mental health checks, employers can help remote workers feel more connected and supported and identify any potential mental health issues before they become more serious.
It is important to note that mental health checks must be done carefully and with sensitivity to employees’ privacy and confidentiality. Employers should ensure that employees are aware of the purpose and scope of the mental health checks and that any information collected is kept confidential and used only for the purpose of supporting employee well-being.
In conclusion, employee well-being and mental health checks are becoming increasingly important in today’s workplace. Employers can support employee well-being by providing access to mental health resources, promoting professional development and growth, creating a positive work culture that supports work-life balance, and implementing regular mental health checks. By taking these steps, employers can help ensure that their workers are healthy, happy, and engaged in their work.