5 Ways to Promote Good Mental Health in the Workplace

Improving employee health used to mean things like discounted gym memberships and cycle-to-work schemes. While these programs are still valid (and often much appreciated), we now appreciate more than ever that employers must consider their workers’ mental health needs.

In fact, in the UK, it’s the law that employers must take mental health seriously. They have a duty of care to support their employees’ health and well-being. When carrying out risk assessments, they must ensure that staff are protected from dangers to their physical and mental health, including discrimination.

Let’s explore 5 things employers can do to support good mental health in the workplace.

1. Connect With Your Employees

It’s probably fair to say that historically we Brits have not been the best at connecting with each other on an emotional level. However, those days of everyone maintaining a stiff upper lip and just carrying on are over. To be a truly effective leader, you need to connect with your team.

One way to do this is by checking in on your employees regularly. This is critical because not all workplace mental health issues are outwardly visible. You may be surprised to discover that someone you thought was coping well is actually struggling with anxiety, depression, or other challenges.

Now we’re not suggesting that you try to become anyone’s therapist. But asking someone how they are and then really listening is crucial to identifying workplace mental health issues. This then paves the way for you to discuss ways you can provide support or signpost them to professional services or resources available.

2. Offer Flexible Working

Employee-focused flexible working could have many benefits for mental health in the workplace. Often the reasons people want flexible working hours include:

  • Ability to drop off and pick up kids from school
  • Take care of elderly family members
  • Attend important appointments without taking time off work

Being able to care for these responsibilities without having to rely on someone else could positively impact mental well-being. It means that when your employees are at work, they’re focused on their work rather than stressed out about caring for other responsibilities.

More studies are needed into the extent of the impact of flexible work on workplace mental health issues. However, a review carried out by a team of Finnish researchers in 2022 indicated that flexible working can have a positive impact on people’s perception of their mental health.

Options for flexible working include allowing people to work some or all of their hours from home, flex time, job sharing, reduced hours, and a compressed workweek. It’s worth considering what methods could work for your business and potentially offering a range of options to your employees.

3. Communicate

Remember that feeling in maths when everyone else was beavering away, and you didn’t have a clue what to do? Too afraid to ask for help, you probably sat there sweating and getting more and more anxious as the class went on.

If managers don’t communicate well, that can happen in the workplace too. A US study found that people were 23% more likely to experience workplace mental health issues if their bosses were poor communicators.

The takeaway? Communicate, communicate, communicate. Overcommunication is almost always preferable to under. Ensure everyone is clear on where they stand, what’s expected of them, and how they can access help.

Additionally, when leaders model good communication, employees will follow. This can create a more empathic and collaborative atmosphere which is great for productivity and reduces workplace stress.

4. Access and Disseminate Training

It’s tough to support workplace mental health and well-being when you don’t know much about the topic. That’s why managers and leaders need to access up-to-date training on creating a mental health-friendly workplace in the post-pandemic world.

Some goals of this training include:

  • Being able to spot and respond to emotional distress in others
  • Developing interpersonal skills such as open communication and active listening
  • Understand the impact of job stressors on mental health and how to manage them

Your employees also need training in mental health awareness. This can help reduce the stigma around mental health concerns and give people the confidence to ask for help.

5. Make It OK to Slow Down

Being busy and constantly on the go can be seen as a virtue in our society. While every employer wants hardworking, industrious people on their team, they also need to know that it’s OK to slow down from time to time.

Slowing down allows us to reset, recharge, and get ready to be productive again. Encouraging your employees to take a few minutes to breathe deeply, head out for a walk, or seek sanctuary in a quiet space for a break can work wonders.

If your office is in the heart of a city with few green areas to retreat to, this may sound like a pipe dream. That’s where acoustic pods can come to your rescue. They’re not only great for concentrated work. They’re a great space for employees to retreat to when they need a few moments to gather their thoughts, reset, and relax.

Good Mental Health in the Workplace Matters

Promoting good mental health in the workplace is going to benefit your business on so many levels. These workplace mental health tips can help employees feel happier about coming to work and giving their best on the job. Additionally, you’ll see an increase in productivity, better working relationships, and, hopefully, a boost to your bottom line.

In busy office situations, acoustic pods provide a sanctuary. They’re the perfect place for some alone time to regroup or concentrate on an important task. Zoom rooms and meeting pods allow small teams to talk confidentially and focus on the task at hand.

At SoundBox Store, we’re proud to supply a wide range of top-quality, plug-and-play soundproof booths to help you create a mental health-friendly workplace. Click here to schedule a visit to one of our showrooms in Clerkenwell and Beaconsfield.

Good mental health in the workplace is crucial for employee well-being, productivity, and overall organizational success. It fosters a positive work environment where individuals feel supported, valued, and motivated. While there are various factors that contribute to good mental health at work, meeting pods play a significant role in promoting it for several reasons:

Privacy and Confidentiality: Meeting pods provide employees with a private space to have confidential conversations, whether it's discussing personal issues with a colleague or seeking support from a manager or HR professional. This privacy can alleviate concerns about judgment or gossip, encouraging employees to address their mental health needs proactively.

Reducing Distractions: Open-plan offices, while promoting collaboration, can also lead to distractions and interruptions, which can negatively impact concentration and stress levels. Meeting pods offer a secluded environment free from such distractions, allowing employees to focus on important discussions or tasks without added stress.

Noise Reduction: Excessive noise in the workplace can be a significant source of stress and anxiety for employees. Meeting pods provide a quiet space away from the hustle and bustle of the office, enabling individuals to have meaningful conversations or engage in focused work without being overwhelmed by noise.

Flexibility for Mental Health Support: Meeting pods can be utilized for various mental health initiatives, such as one-on-one counseling sessions, mindfulness exercises, or small group discussions on well-being topics. Having dedicated spaces for these activities demonstrates the organization's commitment to supporting mental health and makes it easier for employees to access resources when needed.

Encouraging Work-Life Balance: In today's fast-paced work culture, finding a balance between work and personal life is essential for maintaining good mental health. Meeting pods offer a space where employees can step away from their desks and take a break from work-related stressors, promoting a healthier work-life balance and reducing the risk of burnout.

Supporting Remote and Hybrid Work Models: With the rise of remote and hybrid work arrangements, meeting pods become even more important as they provide remote employees with a dedicated space to participate in video conferences or virtual meetings without disturbances from their home environment. This inclusivity helps remote workers feel connected and supported, contributing to their overall well-being.

In summary, meeting pods are essential in promoting good mental health in the workplace by providing privacy, reducing distractions, offering a quiet environment, facilitating mental health support initiatives, encouraging work-life balance, and supporting remote work arrangements. By investing in these spaces, organizations can create a supportive and inclusive work environment where employees thrive both personally and professionally.