May 3, 2023
It is Mental Health Awareness Month, so let’s talk about mental health in the workplace. It’s a crucial thing to consider, especially for small business owners who tend to work very closely with their team members.
Mental health isn’t a topic we can ignore. One survey shows that 20% of U.S. adults experience some symptoms of mental illness each year, and 71% of adults show at least one sign of stress. Furthermore, 61% of respondents said that their mental health affects their productivity at work.
Depression is increasing among workers, and over one-third of people say that their work environment contributes to their mental health. And the overall cost of mental health disorders and substance abuse issues to employers is up to $105 billion per year.
So, how can you support your employees and create a work environment that protects their mental health? Here are some of the essential aspects to consider:
- Tough conversations: The way you approach difficult conversations with your employees has a huge impact on the work environment you’re creating. Avoiding those conversations isn’t the answer — instead, learn how to have difficult conversations productively.
- It’s not about you: A truly healthy environment is healthy for everyone. Not just you — your employees too. If you never experience any friction with your employees, be honest about the reason. If your team members are scared of bringing up certain topics for fear of your reaction, that’s not good.
- Accountability: Make sure your employees know what their responsibilities are. That way, a chat about work performance or KPIs is more transparent, and there’s less of a chance your employee will feel blindsided by negative feedback.
- Empathy: Treat your employees with kindness, compassion, and respect. Avoid sweeping generalizations and using words like “always” or “never.” (Yes, that’s advice from therapy, and it completely applies here!)
- Looking forward: Make sure you give your employees clear instructions and action items going forward. Everyone should be on the same page. If your employees don’t really know what you expect or what they should be doing, that’s a recipe for anxiety and stress.
Learning how to have tough conversations is just one aspect of creating a healthy work environment and managing your people well. Want to take a deep dive into what it really means to be a great manager? Sign up for our upcoming course, Paradigm Management Foundations.
If you’ve got more questions about mental health at work, tag @theparadigmm or send me a DM on Instagram! And don’t forget to review and share this episode with any small business owners you know.