Work is stressful, even if you are not a heart surgeon saving lives, or a defense attorney keeping people out of prison, it is stressful and about 75 percent of our lives in America. Stress that comes from or interferes with your work can have a huge negative impact on your quality of life, not to mention the quality of your performance. Employees and business owners alike have much to gain from a renewed commitment to work environments that promote positive mental health. The first step towards implementing positive mental health policies and possibly a caring culture at work, is to develop a clear understanding of the kinds of pressures your employees are facing. Sure there are the norms like deadlines, budgets and finances, even personal issues interfering at work that are unavoidable, but getting to know the specifics within your work environment is important. Deepening your understanding of the challenges your employees face on a daily basis, and can expect to face in their work will make you better equipped to handle common stressors, and reactions to stressful situations. Second, it is important to have a written plan in place to better assist employees who may have mental health concerns. This includes everything from creating opportunities for stress relief to professional mental health support. A lot of these new and larger companies developing work “campuses” across the country, have included nap rooms, meditation times, yoga classes directly after work, or ping-pong tables in the break room – all as efforts to help employees relieve stress and be more productive.While not all companies have the budget to include these luxuries, you can mimic these ideas with nearly no money at all, it’s really all about promoting employees to take their mental health seriously.
We shouldn’t take for granted if our workplace positively contributes to our mental health. A healthy work environment should be challenging and stimulating for your everyone, but if you or the employees around you are pushed too hard, or sometimes stretched too thin, you may find your work environment has a higher turnover rate, and less productivity than is optimal. With the right prevention and support systems in place, you can play a role in helping your employees live happier, more productive lives. Mental health is nothing to shy away from, or avoid talking about, it is how well we are able to show up in the world, and since we spend so much of our lives at work, why not make it a priority, it’s more than necessary!