As the years have gone on, we’ve all become much more informed about mental health and the effect it can have on the workplace. Taking care of our employees is certainly in our best interests if we want them to be productive and happy in their environment. However, mental health is a complex issue, and it isn’t easily dealt with unless you understand it properly.
We’re going to look at the sheer basics of mental health and what you can do as an employer to assist troubled employees.
Establish the Right Atmosphere
In the first instance, the most important thing you can do is to establish the right type of atmosphere in the workplace. This means having an open door policy, where your employees are welcome to seek assistance at any time. Additionally, it’s crucial that you communicate with them about the type of environment you want to create.
Make it known that you are always open to any concerns they may have, whether it’s health or work-related. You want to be in a position where your employees never feel like they can’t tell you something. If you want to maximize productivity, this is crucial.
Bring In the Professionals
The most important thing you need to remember when dealing with mental health concerns is that you’re not a professional. Medical health experts can tell you a lot about a mental health condition, and the potential severity of it.
They can also help to ease the issue, or potentially get rid of it altogether. This is why EAP solutions for employers are popular in today’s world. Having that expertise to call upon is important for those who need the support. Whatever you do; don’t go jumping to conclusions if you don’t possess the relevant knowledge.
Discuss the Matter Privately
So, now you’re in a situation where you’ve decided that you need to talk to the employee in question. Maybe you’ve noticed that their performance has taken a sharp downturn, for example? In the first instance, you need to prepare what you’re going to say. The last thing you want to do is come across as challenging or overly negative.
Call the person in for a private meeting, one-on-one. Explain to them your concerns, but also make sure they realize that you want to help them in any way you can. This gives them a chance to explain anything that might be causing a problem and you can then work together to find a solution.
Make Allowances If Possible
Mental health issues are debilitating for those who suffer from them. Unfortunately, employers aren’t in a situation where they can simply pull them out of work for extended periods of time. Still, it can often be very beneficial to try and make allowances wherever possible.
Is an area of work causing severe mental distress for them? Maybe it’s worth allocating that role to another employee. Could they do some of their work from home for a while? Maybe it’s worth putting them in their main comfort zone for now. Find ways to make allowances if you can.
Maintain Regular Contact
No matter what happens from this moment on, you need to make sure that you maintain regular contact with the employee. Schedule weekly meetings to report on their progress such as if they’re going to be taking time off, ask them to come back for a meeting now and again. You don’t want to lose track of their progress, especially if things aren’t improving.
This is also important to ensure they feel valued, reducing the risk of isolation. Ultimately, you both want to get through this situation as positively as you can. Working closely is the best way of doing this.
Develop a ‘Return To Work’ Plan
For those who are going to be spending long periods of time away from the office, a ‘return to work’ plan is crucial. There are lots of reasons why this is important. For you, it helps to determine the state of your employee’s mental health, as well as their suitability to carry out their tasks.
For the employee, it gives them a chance to air any concerns they still may have, and any continued support they require in the future. It’s also an important form of documentation, especially if any issues crop up again. Finally, don’t forget to revisit this plan at some point in the future. Set a review date (maybe for a few months, or even a year’s time) to see how things are going.