Science continues to make big strides when it comes to mental health, like the recently found link between gut and brain health. However, employers fail to take wellness seriously in the workplace despite their importance.
It’s time for businesses to start supporting their people.
Your employees need to be happy and healthy to be productive, but they need their employers to care about their well-being first. Here’s how startups can show they care about mental health.
1. Track Mental Health and Project Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
While health improvements will increase overall performance, a productive employee may not be healthy. Employees are taught to work despite their decreasing mental and physical health. If an employee meets deadlines and goes above and beyond, they could still be checked out.
Engaged employees are almost always productive, so it makes more sense to track mental health and project KPIs. If you track things like sessions booked, finances, and satisfaction, you can determine if your employees are utilizing your mental health programs and performing well.
2. Make Mental Health a Large Part of Your Company’s Culture
Giving your employees access to inexpensive mental health services on their health benefits is a start (and a good one, at that!), but you need to take it a bit further. For example, you can offer mental health treatment in South Bay locations that provide partial hospitalization programs.
You could also supply mental health benefits to dependents or support parents with virtual afterschool programs. Above all, you need to make mental health a company value. That means creating healthy policies like email/text response cut-off times on the evening and weekends.
3. Adopt an Outcome First Job Approach and Limit Work Hours
The traditional 40-hour week looks healthy if you compare them to the average working hours of industrial revolution-era employees (100 hours+). However, modern studies show that we’re at our most productive when we work 6 hours a day, or 30 hours a week, as they do in Sweden.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to hours worked so long as you don’t work more than 48 hours a week. Since resilience changes based on the individual, it’s better to take an outcome first approach instead of “hours worked,” as this prioritizes work competition and productivity.
4. Create Career Growth Opportunities by Offering Financial Aid
Most employees create an identity around their work performance or job title, and it isn’t hard to see why. Not only are we pressured to succeed, but we spend a third of our lives working. Since work takes up a third of our lives, employers should do their best to make it purposeful and fun.
Entry-level and senior employees alike want to make career moves; you just have to give them the opportunity. Consider cross-training your employees, sending them to college, or paying for a career-based certificate. Even non-relevant education can promote growth and good health.
5. Educate Your Employees on Finances and Money Management
Financial literacy is at an all-time low, and most people just don’t know how to save. According to studies, 66% of families don’t have an emergency fund, and 78% live paycheck to paycheck. A raise can help employees afford more, but it won’t make them better budgeters or savers.
That’s why it’s essential to teach your employees how to draw up a budget, slowly pay off their debt, and set monthly goals. You can also show them how to avoid impulse spending. Since finances are a common stressor, proper money management will improve mental health.
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