How Leaders Can Promote Mental Health & Wellbeing In The Workplace

When 2020 hit, it brought about a dramatic shift in the way we do just about everything; but it impacted our work lives in a particularly significant way. Employees and employers alike were suddenly pushed to work from home, navigate Zoom school for their children, and take on remote learning, and balance it all — without going crazy. But, is that realistic? Not exactly! It’s essential to know how to promote mental health and wellbeing in the workplace as a leader in today’s climate. You’re already doing everything you can to lead a successful organization, and that includes being an advocate for your employees and the teams you lead.

After all, as an experienced and dedicated manager or supervisor, you want to do everything possible in order to help your employees to be the most efficient and productive that they can be. You mentor them, you work to help them develop their talents, you provide feedback, and help them to see how they can do things better the next time. You provide all the appropriate training so that they can understand their jobs and develop into higher-skilled, more productive members of your organization. You spend the time and energy to make sure that they are doing the things that best match their strengths. So what’s the next step in helping your team members? Investing time and energy into improving workplace mental health.

If you’re wondering how to improve mental health at work, we’ve got you covered.

How To Promote Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace

Key into your organization’s Wellness program.

Use the challenges that your wellness representative provides or make up your own step challenge or sleep challenges.  Employees can compete to see who gets the most steps or the most zzzzzz’s.

Learn about what is already available to your employees.

It is possible that your organization’s health care provider or employee assistance program has opportunities for your employees, for example, weight loss coaching, financial guidance, or stress management. Perhaps a discount to a weight loss program or local gym is already available to you and your team.

Consider providing standing desks.

There are affordable models that sit on the desk and allow the employee to sit or stand at a comfortable height. If they express interest in standing, you will also want to invest in mats for your employees to stand on. A mat designed for standing at a kitchen sink is affordable and will serve the purpose. Suggest that employees ease into standing for a good part of the day.  Like any new exercise, employees shouldn’t expect to be able to stand all day long on the first day.

Encourage employees to get up and walk around.

The newest catchphrase in wellness is, “Sitting is the new Smoking”.  Propose a widget be installed on their computer or smartphone that reminds them to take a stretch from time to time. (one free option: Big Stretch Reminder). Give them the autonomy to participate in company-sponsored programs, use break time to take a walk, or spend their lunch at a local gym.  Make sure they understand that they are encouraged to visit their doctor for their annual wellness/preventive visit.

Lead by example.

Finally, don’t forget to take care of yourself!  Let them see you making healthy choices at lunch. Lead walking meetings. Make sure exercise is part of your weekly routine.

When your employees see that you care about them and their health, you will be impressed at how much they respect and appreciate you.

About the Author Jennifer Orechwa

With over 25 years in the industry, and now as IRI's Director of Business Development, Jennifer has gained a unique perspective on what it takes to build a culture of engagement. By blending a deep understanding of labor and employee relations with powerful digital marketing knowledge, Jennifer has helped thousands of companies achieve behavioral change at a cultural level.

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