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Future of Work

5 Tips for Improving Employee Well-Being in the Workplace


Research has shown that stress is a risk factor for a number of issues in the workplace, with 2 in 3 employees naming work as a significant source of stress in their lives. Building resiliency, or how people manage and recover from difficult situations, is a crucial skill for managers who want to improve mental well-being in the workplace, increase productivity, and maintain employee engagement.

Tramaine EL-Amin

Vice President, Mental Health First Aid USA, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

The Great Gloom” is a new term that describes an old trend: Employees seem unhappier than ever. After the “Great Resignation” of 2021, a focus on well-being in the workplace has grown as employers are starting to recognize the importance of mental health and how it impacts personal and organizational success.

To drive employee satisfaction and succeed, regardless of terminology, employers and businesses need to prioritize the employee experience in a meaningful way, creating a culture that embraces the well-being of all employees. When employees feel that their employers care about their overall well-being, they are three times more likely to be engaged at work.

As a leader, business owner, human resource professional, or people manager, you can use these tips as a starting point to help build a more resilient workforce:

1. Normalize the conversation around mental health

Foster a work environment where employees feel comfortable openly discussing their challenges and needs. As a leader, you can encourage honest conversations about mental health and help break down stigmas by sharing your own experiences, if you feel comfortable doing so. You can also share your self-care strategies and how you relieve stress, such as by exercise and meditation, prioritizing adequate sleep, or journaling.

2. Remove stigmatizing words and phrases from your vocabulary

Mental Health First Aid describes stigma as negative attitudes (prejudices) that result in negative behaviors (discrimination). Language is powerful, and your choice of words can either break down misconceptions and stereotypes or feed into them. Using person-first language, such as “person living with depression” instead of “depressed,” leads to more inclusive discussions about mental well-being at work.

3. Integrate mental health training and awareness into the workplace

By investing in skills-based mental health training for your workforce, you can help increase employee productivity, morale, and retention by cultivating a supportive team culture. You’ll also equip employees at all levels with the skills to recognize and respond appropriately to a colleague who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge in the workplace.

4. Conduct annual reviews of your company’s well-being initiatives

Simply rolling out a workplace mental health program or training without monitoring progress is not an effective solution. Through pulse checks, employee surveys, and other opportunities to provide anonymous feedback, you can identify what is working well and areas for continued improvement to meet the needs of your employees.

5. Proactively support employees’ overall well-being

This can include encouraging employees to take their vacation days, making mental health days available, and creating opportunities for employees to recharge during the day through dedicated no-meeting or “focus” times. As a leader, one of the best ways to encourage your team to use their paid time off is to take time off yourself, as it signals that you prioritize vacation time and understand the importance of it.

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