2020 has been a stressful year. For many, it has not only been stressful at home, but also at work. Employers have always been responsible for supporting their team, but now that support has a new facet—supporting your employee’s mental health. The Harvard Business Review points out that mental health has declined for 42 percent of respondents, and as such, made recommendations for helping with your employee’s mental health.
- Be vulnerable
- Model healthy behaviors
- Build a culture of connections through check ins
- Offer flexibility and be inclusive
- Communicate more than you think you need to
- Invest in training
- Modify policies and practices
- Measure regularly the mental health of your team members
The Harvard Business Review makes the argument that this readjustment offers employers to make the changes to a more mentally healthy workplace that should have been there all along.
Mental health has been a hot topic in HR for years, but it has been one of those items, like a free coffee bar or onsite daycare, that was relegated to the wealthiest companies with the highest paid employees. In 2020, with the move to work from home policies for many and the uncertainty of employment for all, people have been less able to “put on a stiff upper lip” and move on. Add to that the chaos of children in the house, and the world has fundamentally shifted for many.
Mental health will likely be a hot topic for years to come, as every employer learns the warning signs of decline. A decline in mental health, left unchecked, can lead to drug abuse and overdose, both of which we have seen steeply increase in 2020. Employers have a new way to support their employees, and it is in support of their mental health. This will likely be a major initiative for occupational medicine in 2021.