Effective Ways To Support Staff Mental Health
When the countrywide lockdowns began in early 2020, millions of companies switched to working from home in a matter of days. Whether you were part of a design studio, a marketing firm, or any other business that isn't considered essential, I'm sure you remember adapting to a brand new way of working very quickly.
For our colleagues, this was possibly the only upside of what was otherwise a tragic pandemic. There was no need to wake up early, no dreaded commute, people could work from the comfort of their living room or kitchen... but how long would this perceived benefit actually last?
The real trouble with working from home is that the line between our personal and professional lives starts to blur at an alarming rate.
It only took a few months before it quickly became apparent that fear, high stress, and a need to spend more time looking after our immediate family while still keeping track of the news didn't mesh well with increased workloads. The lack of a daily routine paired with the uncertainty about what would happen next kept people on edge, silently eating away at them for over a year.
This was the birth of an emergent mental health crisis as employees began to burn out and struggle with their mental wellbeing, causing productivity, quality of work, and work relationships to decline.
The critical question is: what can you do to help your team overcome these struggles?
The importance of talking about mental health
The first step is as simple as showing your team you care by asking them what would help make them feel better. The one-to-one feedback meetings you have with your employees shouldn't always be about whether they're meeting their targets; they should also be about what's bringing their productivity down if they are not.
Maybe they've been bottlenecked by a process that's been left unoptimized, or perhaps they're dealing with a serious family issue and genuinely need help with their workload.
Whatever the case may be, helping them or offering a few days of paid leave will always be better than pushing them to work harder, thereby throwing them even deeper into the downward spiral that burnout causes.
Think ahead and think strategically. An effective team is happy, in high spirits, and always works noticeably better if you keep that mood alive in the company.
Making mental health a priority in the workplace
A recent report by Mind Share Partners highlights that 84% reported at least one workplace factor had negatively impacted their mental health in the past year.
This issue often arises if the work is too emotionally draining or if employees experience chalanges with their work-life balance.
Here are a couple of simple ideas to help support your employees and avoid these issues altogether:
- Create a #vent channel in Slack to encourage people to share their troubles or support their colleagues if they want.
- Implement an absence management system that makes it okay for employees to ask for time off or go on vacation.
- Consider online mental health training for managers, giving them the ability and confidence that they need to support their team.
- Hire a remote therapist and give people the opportunity to reach out for help whenever they need it.
It's neither too complicated nor expensive to take these extra steps, but it's certainly worth it once you realize that happy workers are simply more productive in the long run. The hidden cost of an unmotivated team that doesn't care about the project is far greater than paying for a few extra days off or the appropriate training for your managers.
There are also a handful of great ways to keep everyone comfortable at work once you've tackled any existing issues, and this involves a lot of communication and regular back-and-forths with the people around you.
We were all raised in different environments and had a myriad of individual experiences that shaped us, so take the time to learn more about your team, observe them carefully, and watch how all of this will help you create a truly great place to work.
The Impact on our company and our product
We’ve developed SpockOffice.com, a convenient Slack app that helps small and medium-sized companies with absence management through features like approving leaves and notifying teams about attendance.
A user-friendly way to request time off
People are often afraid to request time off work because there was a period where "model employees" arrived early and left late. This idea isn't just an exaggerated fantasy; it's also an unhealthy expectation that makes it difficult for employees to feel confident in their decision to take a break when they need it.
Combatting this is as easy as implementing user-friendly ways to request time off through an absence management system like ours.
All your employees need to do is log into Slack, figure out when they want to take a vacation, and then submit their request. Just seeing that button reinforces the fact that it's okay to take a breather at your company.
Spock is designed with the company and its employees in mind, so why not give it a shot and create a win-win situation for everyone?