How to Improve Your Team’s Mental Health
Demanding work environments often force managers to overlook the importance of their team members’ mental health. But prioritizing mental health comes with numerous benefits. In fact, creating a supportive and inclusive environment where employees feel cared for can significantly boost productivity, engagement, retention, and overall success. So, below are four ways managers can improve the mental health of their teams.
1. Foster a supportive culture
It’s important to create a culture that supports the discussion of mental health and mental health issues. Doing so promotes open communication, reduces mental health stigma, and encourages employees to seek help when needed. It’s also important to create a culture that provides support through external resources, such as mental health assistance programs, mental health workshops, access to mental health professionals, and meditation and mindfulness apps. It’s almost a rule that open, supportive cultures translate into more satisfied, more engaged, more productive, and, of course, healthier teams.
2. Encourage work-life balance
Striking a balance between work life and home life is crucial for the mental health of your team members. Unfortunately, this can be easier said than done, especially when crunch time hits its peak. However, managers can and should implement certain measures and policies to improve their team members’ well-being, even during busy times. Some such measures include encouraging employees to take regular breaks, use all their vacation time, and disconnect from work outside of working hours. Meanwhile, some polices include flexible work arrangements like remote work or hybrid work options as well as flexible work schedules (working around your home life schedule). All these measures and policies go a long way toward supporting work-life balance, reducing stress, and making your team happier and healthier.
3. Provide training and education
Offering mental health training and education programs to your team can enhance awareness and understanding of mental health issues. This empowers team members to recognize and address their own mental health needs while improving their ability to offer support to their colleagues. Training can cover topics such as stress management, resilience building, and techniques for maintaining positive mental health.
4. Promote physical well-being, too
The physical aspect of your team’s well-being is just as important as their mental being. In fact, physical and mental health are interconnected. Physical activity can reduce stress, improve mood, and enhance cognitive function, all of which are beneficial for overall well-being. So, don’t make the mistake of neglecting physical health when you’re trying to address mental health.
One way to promote physical well-being among your team members is to encourage regular physical activity, even short breaks away from their desks. Another way is to provide healthy food options and promote workspaces that support ergonomic practices and movement (such as standing desks). A third is to provide access to health competitions like step challenges, which not only impact physical and mental health but also boost overall team morale.
Erik Bergman co-founded Catena Media and helped grow it to over 300 employees and a $200 million valuation before stepping away to start Great.com, an iGaming organization that donates 100 percent of its profits to environmental charities. In addition to running a successful online business, Erik hosts the Becoming Great podcast, shares entrepreneurship tips with his more than 1 million social media followers, and contributes to sites like Entrepreneuer.com, Business Insider, Foundr, and Forbes.