In 2018, mental health is one of the most important priorities any business leader should be considering. Working is itself stressful already. In a society that values work above all things, where we spend hours commuting and staying late at work instead of spending time with our families, work can completely take over our lives. Even though you care more than anything about running a business that’s successful, you also understand the importance of work-life balance. You want your employees to be happy, and you want them to have access to the right resources when it comes to mental health.
Whatever your business name, whatever industry you’re in, you know mental health is important in your business. And that’s why you’re looking for ways to prioritize it among your employees. Without breaking the bank, here are some great ways you can prioritize mental health.
Allow for flexible work
One of the most important ways to prioritize health in general–whether it’s physical or mental–is by providing flexible work. By giving your employees the ability to work from home, and at their own pace, you’re respecting the needs they have in terms of sleep, exercise, and relaxation. Especially when it comes to mental health issues like anxiety and depression, this can make all the difference. Associated problems with these illnesses include sleeplessness and panic attacks–and by providing a flexible schedule, you can provide your employees with the time they need to recover.
Additionally, flexible work has the added benefit of attracting the “best in the business.” So many companies are now employing remotely and with flexible hours, that the most talented employees are drawn to those companies. Almost 50 percent of American employees are now working remotely at least part of the time. Especially if you’re looking to recruit millennials and Gen Zers, this can make your business more successful than ever.
Have transparency in the workplace
When we say transparency, we mean it in two ways. Firstly, we mean having open communication in your office. By making everyone feel like they can speak their minds, and talk about frustrations in the workplace, stress will go way down. And if you meet regularly with employees one on one to talk about their position and what they’re looking for, you can provide them with opportunities for growth and use their business ideas. It creates a healthy office space in general.
Secondly, we’re talking about transparency when it comes to talking about mental health. Unfortunately, many people aren’t ready to talk about mental health, and there’s a mental stigma around it, too. Many people with mental health issues are perceived as lazy in the workplace when there’s something deeper going on. By making mental health something you talk about in meetings and have your HR department provide support for, anyone struggling will feel more accepted. And sometimes, that acceptance makes a huge difference for them, especially if they don’t have much support at home.
Only 41 percent of adults with a mental health illness received mental health services in 2016, so providing a place to talk about these issues is important.
Educate your staff about cheap healthcare options
In an ideal world, you’d be able to give all of your employees the best healthcare out there. But it’s a big cost, and especially if you’ve got a lot of part-time employees, it could make you go broke. Add that to the fact that more than 3 million Americans are uninsured, and it’s likely that some of your employees don’t have access to healthcare. Not in the traditional sense, anyway–which means that as an employer, you need to get creative.
According to Inc.com, small businesses are becoming more interested “in nontraditional medical services like direct primary care practices, doctor’s offices that provide medical services including examinations and laboratory testing. The company pays a flat fee per month; insurance companies are not involved.”
Do all the research you can. Find out if insurance companies are willing to work with smaller companies like yours and if they can offer you a special rate. When it comes to mental health, there might be free resources near you, especially if you’re in a larger city. Check out this list of 6 ways to get cheap mental health care to get started, and make some calls to experts if need be.
These are some of the best ways you can start prioritizing mental health in your business. What other strategies do you think would be most effective?