One of the things that came out of the Covid-pandemic is increased awareness of mental health. Employers started looking for ways to support their employees’ mental health and employees started looking for jobs that would be more respectful of work-life balance and their overall mental health needs. Employers benefit when they invest in mental health support for their workers and because of this, investing in mental health should be seen as a strategic investment that will pay off for years to come.
As HR experts, we know that a workforce with strong mental health is a happier and more productive one. We encourage all businesses to do what they can to invest in employee mental health.
5 Ways to Invest in Employee Mental Health
While mental health investments cannot guarantee perfect mental health among your employees, there are some options that can help lay the groundwork for better mental health. Your employees are likely to appreciate your efforts, regardless, which may improve loyalty and morale.
Here are five ways you can invest in your employees’ mental health:
- Allow mental health days
More and more employers are allowing mental health days by either turning sick and vacation time into Paid Time Off (PTO) or allowing workers to openly use sick days as mental health days. Even five years ago, this was fairly uncommon. By allowing mental health days, you are giving your employees permission to care for their mental health when they need to.
2. Set healthy work boundaries
Avoid sending emails late into the evening and on weekends and holidays or at least set the expectation that workers are not required to respond during off hours. Some other things you can do are to avoid setting unreasonable deadlines that will keep employees working late, encourage employees to stretch their legs, eat and enjoy their lunch break, and to set an expectation that workers should be able to complete their tasks within a 40-hour work week (as long as it is followed up with an offer for support for workers who are struggling to get their work done). Setting healthy work boundaries is one of the most important things an employer can do to support employees’ mental health through a healthy work-life balance.
3. Train managers to recognize signs of burnout
A great manager can increase employee retention and support employee mental health when they are trained to spot burnout among their workers. Since they interact with workers every day, they are the best people to notice signs of stress and offer compassion. Some signs to look out for are: trouble focusing, newly showing up late, calling in sick often, becoming angry or upset on a regular basis, and alienating themselves from coworkers.
4. Make help easy to access
The best way for employers to provide easy access to mental health support is by choosing an employee benefits plan that includes mental health services. At Makai HR, our clients gain access to both affordable, quality group health insurance plans and an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that provides educational and counseling sessions. Learn more about the benefits we offer.
5. Reimburse employees for mental health tools
Another great idea is to reimburse employees for mental health tools such as apps like Headspace that help people meditate, practice mindfulness and get more restful sleep. Some people use physical fitness as a form of mental health support, so it may make sense to offer an option to reimburse for workout apps or gym memberships.
How to make it happen
In order to invest in employee mental health, someone needs to be in charge of creating and employing a strategy. One suggestion is to appoint a wellbeing lead or point-person who can start by creating a survey for employees to fill out about the current state of their mental health and what types of support they would find most helpful. Don’t forget to share your plans with your workers so they can take advantage of any new programs!
Partnering with Makai HR
Need HR support for your small business? We’ve got you covered through HR outsourcing! When you partner with Makai HR you can get on with the business you are trying to grow while we take care of your employee needs from payroll to taxes, health insurance/benefits and worker’s compensation. You also gain peace of mind that you are compliant with all of Hawaii’s employer laws (if you’ve ever looked you know that the list is very long and changes happen). When choosing a PEO to partner with, there are many things to consider including cost, services, and technology solutions.
With the cost of doing business in Hawaii at record highs, we know how important it is to keep labor costs in line with revenue. Our plans are priced competitively and include value-added services like time-in/time-out systems. Our three tiers of PEO service plans are tailored to the size of your business and specific needs. We offer a 100% paperless solution which means that your employees can manage their needs through a computer, tablet, or phone. We can truly improve your employees’ work benefits while freeing you up to operate your business.
What are you waiting for? Companies that partner with a PEO benefit from 7-9% faster growth, 10-14% lower employee turnover; and they are 50% less likely to go out of business. Contact us today to get started!