With the boom of stand up desks, walking meetings and healthcare perks, it’s clear the modern workplace has begun to prioritize physical health. But, the workplace also need to put an emphasis on mental health. According to a 2016 survey conducted by the American Psychological Foundation, 1 in 3 employees feel chronically stressed at their workplace.
Stress doesn’t make for a happy, satisfied or productive employee. If fostering happiness doesn’t strike enough of a cord for you, consider that the CDC estimates between $17 and $44 billion are lost annually in the workplace due to lack of productivity. Lack of mental health awareness is costing us in the workplace, but we can change that.
Some small changes in the office can make all the difference when it comes to mental health. Creating a lighter, more pleasing atmosphere can promote productivity and increase comfort. Make sure you maximize natural light in the office. If your natural light is maxed out, a few well-placed lamps, especially floor lamps, can create a pleasing workspace. In addition to light, greenery can make an office instantly cheerier. Plants can also clear up air quality, cool down temperatures, and provide a soothing aesthetic.
Beyond simple lighting and leafy changes, talk to employees to see what can improve the space. Perhaps a white noise machine, or adding art to the walls could profoundly impact the way employees feel about an area.
You can add to a space to improve it, but don’t forget to think about what you could take away. Encourage coworkers to tidy up desk spaces, or host an office improvement afternoon where common areas are cleared of clutter. A clutter-free workspace equates to a clutter free mind.
Acknowledging mental health at your workplace can be a challenge in that you might not be the most qualified person to assist coworkers in mental health improvement. This is an excellent opportunity to outsource. Bring resources like professional life & health coaches who focus on and can speak to well-being in the workplace, or services like Sophia that help find the right therapist for you. You aren’t and shouldn’t be expected to have all the answers when it comes to mental health.
You can kick things off with a lunch and learn seminar hosted by a coach, or create an opportunity for employees to book short one on one sessions with a coach. While it’s not expected for team members to solve all their mental health issues during company hours, beginning a dialogue and de-stigmatizing the subject can create space for everyone grow, both on and off the job. Opening the door for this conversations can create a space that welcomes mental health focused policies.
Go for Goals
Emotional well-being in the workplace is closely tied to productivity and purpose. If you lose meaning, you lose drive. Employees start to disengage, creating a toxic work environment for teams and projects.
To combat this, make it a priority to establish goal setting with employees. Giving employees an idea of what they need to accomplish day to day makes space for growth, and offers teammates a better understanding of purpose within the group. Employees should make trackable, attainable goals on a quarterly basis with supervisors. This can help create a more precise sense of purpose as well as foster camaraderie in the company.
An unhappy employee in a workplace isn’t just unpleasant, it can have a significant effect on retention and productivity. When considering mental health in the office, many are intimidated by inexperience with the subject. However, calling in support systems and creating a more pleasant workspace with emphasis on goal setting and attaining will make all the difference for your team.
Want to bring mental health support systems into your organization or workplace? Talk to any of Ace-up's Life & Health Coaches about how to acknowledge and support your employees' mental health today.