There are lots of reasons a small business owner should pay attention to mental health issues in the workplace. Violence on the job is a very real thing we see on the news today. No one ever likes to think their office will be the next one to deal with this. But a pandemic has put most of your employees in confined and solitary living situations. This reality, along with civil unrest and political upheaval, is creating unprecedented stress on everyone. Even the most steady of us all feel out of sorts over what we’ve had to deal with lately. The events of the day are inescapable, but we need to pay attention to our employees’ mental health we are going to succeed.
Studies are reporting greater instances of substance abuse this year. There are also higher rates of suicidal ideation and depression. That should tell us all something about how people are feeling about the climate we are living in. No one is immune to stress but how we deal with the stress we face makes all the difference.
Be Intentional About Mental Health Issues In The Workplace
One of the best ways that small business owners can help deal with mental health issues in the workplace is by making it okay to talk about it. Mental health issues are a challenging subject for most people to discuss. The stigma of mental health drives the sufferer into dark corners of isolation out of shame and fear of judgment. If we want to deal with mental health issues in the workplace, we have to dispatch the taboo on this subject.
With so many small business owners trying to manage their staff as they work remotely, it might be easy to miss the signs. Managing a remote team takes a much more hands-on approach than in-person. Working remotely makes it easy for employees to hide and increases the danger of feeling detached and isolated. Small business owners need to make it a point to check in with their staff online regularly.
The importance of checking in with remote staff is twofold. One, it keeps them feeling connected to the team and the mission that is your small business. Two, it allows you to note any social or emotional changes that may be going on with your employee. Dealing with mental health issues in the workplace means actively looking for signs that something may not be right with your employees.
How To Confront Issues With Mental Illness With Employees
If you notice one of your employees seems off, the next logical question is, “What do I do about it?” It’s understandable to second guess yourself because it feels uncomfortable sitting down with an employee to discuss changes you might have noticed in their behavior.
The key to dealing with mental health issues in the workplace in a way that makes progress is staying optimistic. When you ask questions, phrase them in a way that offers help instead of criticism.
“I’ve noticed….what can I do to help you?”
“You don’t seem as enthusiastic about work lately. What can I help with?”
“You seem down/disinterested lately. Are you talking to someone about how you feel?”
These are just some examples of ways you can confront emotional changes without making your employee feel uncomfortable or judged for any mental health issues they are dealing with.
It’s good to have resources available to offer your employees if they struggle with mental health issues or substance abuse. Keeping them connected to the idea that you are there to help and are committed to their wellbeing is important to stay in front of the conversation. Remember, a suffering person is in front of you, not an obstacle to productivity in the workplace.
Stay honest with yourself about your mental health in these challenging times. It’s hard to recognize when others are struggling if you are suffering yourself. As small business owners, we have many things on our plates these days, but suffering in silence with mental health issues shouldn’t be among them.
Do Your Employees Have Mental Health Coverage Right Now?
A lot of cheap health plans don’t offer mental health benefits to lessen the cost of coverage. While this is attractive to small business owners looking to save on premiums, the cost of not offering mental health benefits is crushing. It costs a small business owner a lot more to not offer mental health benefits than they realize. Lost productivity and staff are places where these expenses are realized.
PEOs are great ways for small business owners to meet the challenges of dealing with mental health issues in the workplace with resources and attractive benefits that cover mental health care for a lot less than what they are paying without it. PEOs can help with EAP programs and mental health resources to take care of you and your employees in these challenging times.
If you’d like to find out more about what a PEO can do about mental health issues in your workplace, contact us today for a free consultation.