How to Show Employees You Value Their Mental Health and Wellness

By Kaitlin Hurtado on September 28, 2022

As an employer, you have plenty of responsibilities to keep in mind as you carry on your day-to-day work. One of your many responsibilities as an employer is ensuring that your employees are able to perform to the best of their ability. This doesn’t just mean putting hours of training into their schedules to make them a “good employee” – you want to make sure your employees are doing okay outside of work. As an employer, you can create opportunities for your employees to take care of their mental health and wellness to live better personal and professional lives. Think about any job you have had and hardships you faced that took a toll on your mental health or physical health. Whether the stressor was work-related or not, the stress likely negatively affected your life in and out of work.

Your employees aren’t just people who can help you reach professional goals at the company, and it’s important to remember that they aren’t going to perform well or succeed if their health and wellness are being impacted negatively. Keep reading for ideas on how to show employees you value their mental health and wellness.

Photo: Pexels

Offer bonus time off, not limited to company policy 

Depending on your company policy around vacation hours and time off, your employees may not be taking as much time off as needed to tend to their personal lives and recharge. Or, maybe they are just saving up their hours without taking any time off for themselves due to a busy work schedule or a lack of upcoming vacation. Whatever the case may be, you should encourage your employees to take time off even if it’s just for a day at home, giving them a chance to recharge.

Rather than relying on accrued vacation time or holidays to give your employees chances to take a break from work, offer up floating holidays or a free day off. There are different ways to approach this, but a simple way is allowing your employee an extra day of their choice to take off without having to tap into their accrued vacation hours. Whether it’s for their birthday or a rest day, it’s up to the employee to use their extra day(s) as they desire.

Depending on your work situation, you may see that your employees are hesitant to take time off due to how busy they are on a daily basis. They may fear a backlog of work once they return from time off, making them opt to pass on any vacation opportunities in order to stay on top of their workload. If this is the case, take charge and offer solutions so that your employees don’t have to feel this way. For example, allocate another colleague as an employee’s designated backup for when they are out of the office. If you haven’t done this already, it’s also a great way to have your team cross-trained and familiar with more tasks and processes.

Encourage break time

While there are laws and policies in place to allocate proper break times to employees throughout the work day, not everyone actually takes the opportunity to get a complete break when they get the chance. They may find themselves stuck at their desk trying to meet a deadline or may feel that they simply don’t “need” a break and work throughout the rest of the day. As an employer, encourage your employees to take their breaks properly.

If your employees are working from home, it may be harder to track their break time but encouraging your employees to do something like blocking time off on their calendar or changing their status to offline or “Do Not Disturb” during their breaks can help. For one, they can get reminded to actually step away for a break when it’s on their calendar. Second, changing their status can prevent them from getting pinged and called back to their computer during their well-deserved break time.

If you are working on-site, there are different things you can do to encourage break time. One thing is giving a refresh to your breakroom to make it a place for your employees to recharge and disconnect from work during break time. You can add a coffee machine, add a TV,  set up some board games, and so on. Depending on your place of work and if you are client-facing, consider closing the office for a couple of hours to give your employees a designated lunch break and change to recharge during the workday.

Check-in, not just office talk

At the end of the day, your employees aren’t just doing their jobs on a daily basis. Make an effort to check in with your employees to get to know them and keep up with their lives. Some may not opt to share a deep dive into their personal lives, but getting to know your employees past their work life can help you and your employees better understand each other.

Taking the chance to chat with your employees about something completely unrelated to work can also be a great way to take your mind off of any work-related stressors.

An employee that feels valued in the workplace as an individual person, not just someone on payroll, is someone that is ready to step up and perform. Allowing your employees to actively take care of their mental health and wellness can help them feel valued and lead happier and healthier lives.

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