How To Help A Struggling Employee

Mental Health Awareness day is fast approaching.  Given that, it bears thinking about your corporate culture and how your firm might be negatively impacting the mental health and well-being of your employees.

This is not to say that the job you’re asking your employees to do is literally driving them crazy, but let’s face it, the modern work environment is stressful and it’s becoming increasingly more difficult for your staff to balance work and home life.  That’s why it is estimated that one adult in five in the United States is struggling with some type off mental health issue.

Think about that for just a second.  How many employees do you have?  That’ll give you a rough estimate of how many are struggling right now.

Although few will openly admit it, most of your employees would be grateful if you put more time, attention and emphasis on helping your employees cope with the stress that is an inherent part of modern professional life.  With those things in mind, here are a few ideas you can implement:

  • Be sure to look closely at the health insurance you’re offering to your employees.  If the insurance you’ve chosen doesn’t offer mental health coverage provisions, strongly consider switching to one that does.
  • Make sure all company policies are clearly understood.  Transparency is key here.  The last thing you want is to create a company culture of fear because nobody knows or understands the rules.
  • Provide your employees with a space and people to talk to who won’t judge if they have problems.  This could be a member of your Human Resources department, or if you have the funds for it, an on-site therapist would be even better.

In addition to the above, there’s one other thing you can do that’s incredibly important.  Promote healthy habits. 

There are two dimensions to this.  The first involves promoting healthy eating.  You could do this by having a health lunch brought in once a month, or even once a quarter.  If that’s too rich for your blood, consider swapping out some of the unhealthy snacks in the break room vending machines with healthier options. 

Definitely don’t swap them all out, but make sure there are healthy choices available.  One of those healthy options should be bottled water if you’re not stocking that already.

The other thing involves taking steps to improve your physical health.  This includes things like bringing in health professionals that give your employees the option to experiment with yoga and meditation, or perhaps a massage therapist who can give your employees a much needed and relaxing massage while they’re working.

If those things simply aren’t possible, at the very least, consider working with a local gym to negotiate a discounted membership rate for your employees.  If you have unutilized space in your office, you could even start shopping around for exercise equipment and set up your own gym.  Better physical health promotes better mental health!

The final thing to consider here is to simply be more mindful and aware.  People exhibit signs and symptoms when they’re struggling with stress or depression.  Learn to recognize those signs and be a friend in need to those who are having difficulty.  Yes, your employees work for you, but they’re much more than just cogs in a wheel.  Treat them as such.