Mental health and work form a positive relationship only in a favorable workplace environment. When challenging expectations are imposed in the workplace employee become dissatisfied, which can result in anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, and other mental health issues.
According to the World Health Organization, depression and anxiety cost the global economy $1 trillion in a single year. Mental health issues can cause workers to become unproductive and affect their contribution to the company's success.
In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, most leaders had to implement work from home strategies, which caused an even more significant strain on the workers' productivity. Buffer's 2019 State of Remote Work Report showed 19% of remote workers struggled with loneliness, and 22% had a problem unplugging after the workday was finished. These effects are even more pronounced for those accustomed to working in an office when they suddenly became isolated from their workplace community.
Burnout is another issue that affects mental health and work. Burnout is especially common for remote workers because their work and life exist in the same physical space. They have difficulties managing schedules, and can quickly get bored by the daily routine.
As a leader, how can you manage unmotivated employees experiencing a fragile mental health state? You should never think about firing them! Good leaders do not get rid of problems; they solve them. Continue reading to discover how you can support your employees through stressful times.
1. Create a More Friendly Work Environment
Healthy informal communication is the foundation of a positive workplace culture. How can you support your employees? One way is by holding casual and unplanned Facebook video chat sessions. Check with your employees to see if they are up for a relaxed video chat during work hours? Please don't ask your employees to give away their free time; this will cause more stress. By asking them to relax with a chat during work, your strategy will be much more effective.
2. Learn About Employee Mental Health
A good leader is aware, attentive, and alert to their employees' behavior. Through empathy and understanding of mental health issues, you will know what your employees are coping with.
If you do not know much about anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue, and other consequences of work-imposed stress, don't worry; you can learn. By observing disruptions or changes in workers' behavior, you may be able to notice the connection between mental health and the workplace. To learn more about recognizing and addresses mental health, taking a psychology course on Coursera.
3.Collaborate with a Virtual Therapist
Offer your employees an opportunity for a virtual session with a trained therapist at the company's expense. Show your employees that you understand their work is stressful, and you, too, use these services. Encourage them to talk to the therapist if they want and clarify all of their conversations will remain confidential. There should be no stigma surrounding employee mental health.
4.Implement a Paid Exercise Program
Exercise is one of the top stress-coping mechanisms. If your employees work from home, you can offer a paid subscription to an online exercise program. It may be a website for yoga and meditation, cardio fitness, HIIT workouts, or whatever they prefer.
5. Monitor Employee Performance and Recognize the Symptoms
As a leader, you always observe the level of productivity, motivation, and engagement within your team. It is easy to measure productivity: you measure the results each team member achieves and compare them with their previous achievements. Do you notice that some of your workers are slower or less successful in completing their tasks? This is an opportunity for you as a leader to explore your knowledge of stress and mental health to discover reasons your employees are less productive.
As for the levels of motivation and engagement, send out surveys each month. Ask employees to honestly respond with thoughts and feelings about the workload, working environment, and connection within the team.
Now that you have addressed your employees' mental health, it is imperative to focus on your self-care as well. The best way to support your employees is by modeling the self-care that you promote within the team.
1. Open Up
As a leader, you are expected to be stoic under pressure-but this can have lasting consequences on your mental health. Recognize the signs of stress and burnout, then act! You do not have to be the pillar of strength in every situation.
Find a good therapist and talk to them regularly. Open up about your struggles; you will feel better by recognizing them.
2. Be the Model of Self-Care
Exercise, read, spend time in nature, and engage in activities that you love. Most important of all: sleep! Life should not revolve solely around work, even if the entire company depends on you. In order to support your team through stressful times, you must address your mental health too.
Our mental health is not guaranteed; It demands hard work and dedication. As a leader, you have to understand the connection between the management of stress and leadership. It is your responsibility to create a supportive work environment.
Mental Health starts with self-care. When you can handle the daily stress of work, you will be able to help your employees do the same.