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Healthy Workplace Month: Support Mental Health

Monday October 15th, 2018

Your mental health and well-being isn’t just something you should focus on at home. Self-care should be practiced in the workplace, too.  According to the Government of Canada, 47% of working Canadians consider their work to be the most stressful part of daily life. Employers nowadays should be taking steps to create a work environment where positive mental health is encouraged. This can help improve employee creativity, cooperation, engagement, retention, loyalty, morale, productivity and recruitment. It can also help reduce absenteeism, employee turnover, grievances, medical leave/disability, workplace injuries, and time lost.

There are many benefits to practicing mental health and well-being initiatives in the workplace. Here are just some of the things you should consider if you’re looking to promote and support mental wellness at work:

Recognition & Appreciation

Maintaining a positive psychological environment in the workplace means ensuring your staff feel appreciated and respected. Therefore, employers should make an effort to recognize their employees so that their work feels meaningful. This could include a recognition program that rewards employees who have done exceptional work or reached an employment milestone. For instance, Modu-Loc’s employee recognition program rewards years of service milestones with gift cards, Modu-Loc “swag”, and even bonus vacation days.

By showing employees that you respect and appreciate them, you can raise their morale and ensure they don’t feel as though their contributions are going unnoticed.  Here are a few other ways you can show your employees (or coworkers) that you appreciate all their hard work:

  • Give awards for exceptional performance or demonstration of company core values
  • Introduce a recognition jar or box for employees to submit shout-outs and notes of appreciation for their peers
  • Include employee shout-outs in your company newsletter

At some Modu-Loc depots, employees have created “Modu-vation” or “Modu-Life” chalkboards. Here, they can write notes of appreciation for their coworkers in a dedicated “Shout-Outs” section.
Modu-Loc employees like to share notes of appreciation on their depot chalkboards

Peer recognition is an important aspect of any supportive, healthy work environment.

Work-Life Balance

Supporting a work-life balance in the workplace can prevent your employees from feeling like they’re “just another number”. Life happens, and sometimes your employees face circumstances that cannot be avoided. Working with an employee to help them get through a tough time and finding a schedule that works best for both of you may just turn mediocre work into high productivity. Being able to integrate your personal life with your work life and find a true balance between the two can improve your mental state and attitude, reduce stress, and increase the overall quality of your work.

Try out these other ideas to help create more balance at work:

  • Regular check-in meetings between managers and staff
  • Actually using your vacation time (or encouraging your staff to use theirs)
  • Taking time during your off-hours for your self-care routine
  • Awarding several mental health days per year so that employees can take time off if they are feeling stressed or burnt out

Physical Health

Promoting an active lifestyle in the workplace will encourage overall positive well-being, with exercise being known to reduce stress and improve sleep quality. Making an effort to implement physical activity as a company can help motivate everyone to keep active in their spare time, so insert that workout tape, put on your sweatbands and get physical! If a 1980’s office exercise class isn’t your thing, try some of these other simple initiatives:

  • Organize group walks
  • Host Monday morning group meditation or yoga sessions
  • Have healthy snacks available in the lunch room
  • Sanitize your workspace regularly during flu season

By prioritizing mental health and well-being, you can create a healthy work environment that encourages productivity and co-operation. Mental health initiatives can help shape a workplace that everyone enjoys coming to every day, because they know they are appreciated and supported there. The return on investment will be evident, as some of the best work comes from happy employees. Your efforts will be noticeable internally and externally, and will make your organization a place where everyone wants to work.

This blog post is part of our series for Healthy Workplace Month. If you missed the first post, you can find it here. You can also check out our next post, which explores the benefits of volunteerism. For more information about Healthy Workplace Month, please visit healthyworkplacemonth.ca.

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