How companies can create a culture that prioritizes mental health

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CEO of equalists. com – Helping CEOs make great strategic decisions and build healthy, high-performing teams.

I think all companies should become places where people (employees) can improve their mental and physical health. Many of us have given blood, sweat and tears to the companies we’ve worked for, by sacrificing that weekend away to propose, by staying late and ordering pizza at the office instead of going home. go out for dinner, or deal with the stress that eventually bruises us into a grumpy shadow of our former selves.

I have helped build high-performing teams and establish positive mental health initiatives in multiple companies worldwide. I was inspired to do this after working in multiple toxic workplaces that had no regard for mental health, suffering and falling into depression and self-medicating.

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How can a negative work culture affect employees?

The workplace is where we spend much of our waking life, and it can be a major source of anxiety, anger, and frustration. The American Institute of Stress reports that “83% of American workers suffer from work-related stress, with 25% saying their job is the top stressor in their lives.”

I’ve noticed that employees often associate negative workplaces with:

• Lack of work-life balance, leading to excessive working hours and little time for private life.

• Poor communication and feedback, which can lead to uncertainty and fear among employees.

• High levels of stress and pressure to meet unrealistic goals and targets.

• Toxic relationships and bullying, which can lead to feelings of isolation and negative self-image.

• Lack of support and recognition for employee performance, which can lead to feelings of undervaluation and demotivation.

The good news, however, is that business leaders can be part of the solution. The workplace can provide people with a sense of accomplishment, financial stability, and social connections, which can contribute to our overall well-being and sense of purpose. In addition, the skills and knowledge gained through work can enhance our sense of competence and self-confidence.

How can companies support mental health?

Creating a positive workplace that prioritizes mental health can help improve employee well-being and increase organizational productivity. Here are some steps you can take as a leader to create a positive work culture that prioritizes mental health:

1. Develop a clear and comprehensive mental health policy that outlines the company’s commitment to employee well-being and provides information about the resources available to employees.

2. Foster a culture of open communication and encourage employees to speak up about mental health issues.

3. Provide mental health training to all employees, including managers and supervisors, to ensure they have the tools and resources necessary to identify and support mental health needs.

4. Promote work-life balance by offering flexible working arrangements, such as telecommuting, job sharing or flexible schedules.

5. Create a positive work environment that supports well-being, such as ergonomic workplaces, natural light and green spaces.

6. Provide access to mental health resources such as an employee assistance program or counseling service.

7. Support physical activity and healthy lifestyle choices by offering wellness programs, gym memberships, or healthy snack options.

8. Provide regular feedback and recognition for employees to increase motivation and job satisfaction.

9. Promote a sense of community and social support through team building activities and social events.

10. Continuously monitor and evaluate the company’s mental health policies and programs to ensure they are effective and meet the needs of employees.

Get buy-in by highlighting the benefits for businesses.

Creating a positive workplace should be supported by the executive team, and I suggest linking the KPIs of all senior management to this goal. The company should ‘walk’ and not just ‘talk’.

And finally, if there’s a pullback in the costs associated with implementing initiatives that help build a positive mental health workplace, point to the data:

• According to a 2017 report from Deloitte, organizations that invest in mental health programs and create a positive mental health culture can achieve a return on investment of up to 6 against 1.

• In a 2020 study by Deloitte, 80% of respondents said a focus on wellness was important to their company’s success.

• A study the 2021 Harvard Business Review found that companies that prioritize employee well-being and mental health have employees with greater job satisfaction and an intent to stay with the company.

Having a healthy, high-performing team is not just an advantage for companies. It can produce happier people who go out into the world in a better state of mind with more resilience and confidence. The ripple effect can extend far beyond the office and have a positive impact on society at every encounter. Who in the world doesn’t want that?


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