Why Supporting Your Team’s Mental Wellbeing Is Key To Your Success

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World Wellbeing Week 2023 served as an opportunity to raise awareness and foster positive physical, mental, and emotional health, while understanding the direct correlation between employee wellbeing and overall small business success.

According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), work-related stress, depression, and anxiety contribute to a staggering loss of approximately 12 billion working days annually, leading to a significant decline in productivity.

ALSO: How to Deliver a High-Impact Way to Prioritize Employee Well-Being in the Workplace

Supporting employee mental wellbeing in the workplace is crucial for businesses for several reasons:

ENHANCED PRODUCTIVITY
When employees are mentally healthy and well-supported, they tend to be more engaged, focused, and motivated. They experience fewer distractions, absenteeism, and presenteeism (being physically present but mentally disengaged). This ultimately leads to higher productivity and better overall performance.

REDUCED TURNOVER
High levels of stress, burnout, or untreated mental health issues can lead to increased employee turnover. By prioritizing mental wellbeing, businesses can create a supportive work environment that fosters loyalty, job satisfaction, and a sense of belonging. This can reduce turnover rates, saving the company the costs associated with hiring and training new employees.

IMPROVED TEAMWORK AND COLLABORATION
Mental wellbeing initiatives often promote a positive work culture that encourages open communication, empathy, and teamwork. Employees who feel supported and valued are more likely to collaborate effectively, share ideas, and work together towards common goals. This leads to improved team dynamics, innovation, and problem-solving abilities.

ENHANCED CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION
Mental wellbeing is closely tied to creativity and innovation. When employees are less stressed and have a positive mindset, they are more likely to think creatively, come up with innovative solutions, and take calculated risks. Prioritizing mental health can foster a culture of creativity and allow businesses to stay competitive in a rapidly changing market.

BETTER EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT AND MORALE
Employees who feel their mental health is supported by their employers tend to have higher levels of engagement and job satisfaction. They feel valued, recognized, and cared for, which boosts their morale and overall happiness. Engaged employees are more likely to go above and beyond in their work, contribute positively to the workplace environment, and be advocates for the company.

ALSO: Improving Employee Engagement: Seven Strategies for a Productive and Positive Workplace.

LEGAL AND ETHICAL OBLIGATIONS
Many jurisdictions have legal frameworks and regulations that require employers to provide a safe and healthy working environment, which includes addressing mental health concerns. Failing to support employee mental wellbeing can lead to legal consequences and damage a company’s reputation. Additionally, businesses have a moral and ethical responsibility to prioritize the mental health and well-being of their employees.

Supporting employee mental wellbeing in the workplace is important for businesses because it leads to increased productivity, reduced turnover, improved teamwork and collaboration, enhanced creativity and innovation, better employee engagement and morale, and fulfills legal and ethical obligations. By investing in mental health initiatives, businesses can create a positive work environment that benefits both employees and the overall success of the organization.

ALSO: Achieving Mental Wellness: How Coaching Can Help.

HOW TO SUPPORT EMPLOYEE MENTAL WELLBEING

Businesses can support employee mental wellbeing through various strategies and initiatives.

Some of the strategies and initiatives supporting staff mental wellbeing that my clients implement include:

Promote a healthy work-life balance. Set reasonable expectations for workloads and provide ways for employees to take breaks for clearing their minds and moving their bodies. Strongly encourage taking 100% of their vacation time. Where it works for the organization and team, determine a way to successfully implement flexible work arrangements like telecommuting or flextime.

Offer mindfulness and stress-reduction programs, especially those that teach staff techniques that require minimum time and equipment … what can be done at their desks or just by stepping away for a few minutes. This could include providing access to mindfulness apps, offering yoga or meditation classes, or creating quiet spaces where employees can relax and de-stress.

Celebrate successes both large and small. Employees learn that they are valued and appreciated, which boosts morale. Learn how individuals most appreciate praise. Some want public recognition; others prefer quiet acknowledgement like small gifts or tokens of appreciation.

Start, or encourage, small-group connections. Suggest, and provide space (time and room availability) for people to form informal groups around sports, hobbies, or even work-related sharing that is supportive rather than competitive or punitive.

Sylvia Henderson, MBA, Certified LEGO ® Serious Play Facilitator
Ingomu Coaching Community: Action and Accountability for Business Owners and Career Professionals

Understanding and implementing mindfulness in the workplace:
Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment with non-judgmental awareness. It involves intentionally bringing one’s attention to their internal environment, including thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and their external environment. Meditation is a key component of mindfulness, allowing individuals to develop and strengthen their ability to be present and non-reactive which enables them to have more access to calm, peace and clarity.

What this might look like in the work environment:

  • Designating and creating a calming space for employees to “pause” or take a “break”
  • Creating time for employees to have “Mindful Moments”
  • Inviting a mindfulness coach to visit and speak to their employees about the benefits of mindfulness and guide them through a meditation
  • Organizing an employee health and wellness event
  • Educating employees about their EAP

Paige Phelps, M.S., Ed.S
Ingomu Coaching Community: Beyond Anxiety, Creating the Life You Deserve and Love to Live

As a career development and mental fitness coach, businesses and organizations have a tough and important job today.  The priorities of today’s workforce have shifted. It was noted in a SHRM article, that one of the focal points for leaders is to be mindful of, pay attention to, and support their employee’s financial and emotional well-being.
In addition, according to a WTW survey two out of three U.S. employers (67%) plan to make employee mental health and emotional wellbeing programs and solutions one of their top three health priorities over the next three years.

For organizations to support their employee’s mental wellbeing through strategy and initiatives, here are five tips for organizational leaders:

Leaders must role model and invest in their own mental health and fitness.
If the leaders in your organization are focused on their team’s wellbeing, who is looking out for them?  Do your leaders fill their own wells? Do your leaders inject the oxygen mask theory and take care of #1, before they take care of others? What do your leaders do each day to keep themselves present, focused, and optimally mentally fit so they can effectively lead others.

Role model and promote a harmonious work life integration.
Leaders should model and maintain a healthy work-life balance by setting clear boundaries and expectations. Leaders should demonstrate and encourage their workforce to take regular breaks, use their vacation days, and avoid excessive overworking.

Role model and foster open communication and an equitable and inclusive culture.
Leaders should work on building and fostering a culture of open communication where employees feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, concerns, and challenges. This is done only when leaders themselves build relationships with transparent communication, by walking the talk, by modeling open communication themselves and allowing others to share different perspectives without negative consequences.

Leaders should create a supportive and inclusive work environment where employees feel valued and respected.

Provide accessible mental health and mental fitness resources.
Organizations must offer easy access to mental health & mental fitness resources and support services. This can include an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), counseling services, or partnerships with mental health professionals. Leaders should educate employees about these resources and promote their usage by emphasizing the importance of mental well-being and reducing stigma around seeking help.

Role model and encourage continuous professional development.
Leaders should invest in employee growth and development opportunities. Provide access to training programs, career development coaching, workshops, or conferences that enhance both professional and personal skills. Supporting employees’ continuous learning not only boosts their confidence but also helps them cope with workplace challenges and develop resilience.

Jacqueline C. Ross, LLC, ACC, CPQC, MM
Ingomu Coaching Community: Increase Empathy and Decrease Burnout for Leaders!

TAKEAWAYS

Three takeaways from this article are:

1. A SUPPORTIVE WORK CULTURE IS IMPORTANT
Promoting a work environment that values open communication, empathy, and mutual support is crucial for supporting employee mental wellbeing. Managers and leaders play a key role in fostering positive relationships and providing a safe space for discussing mental health concerns.

2. AWARENESS AND REDUCTION OF STIGMA
Raising awareness about mental health through campaigns and training programs helps normalize discussions and reduce the stigma associated with it. Creating a culture where mental health is openly addressed contributes to a supportive workplace environment.

3. ACCESS TO MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
Providing access to mental health resources such as employee assistance programs, our Ingomu app, counseling services, and partnerships with mental health providers is essential. Ensuring that employees have confidential and professional support when needed is vital for their wellbeing.

These strategies, along with others mentioned above, such as flexible working arrangements, workload management, fostering social connections, providing training and development opportunities, creating a physically safe environment, and leading by example, contribute to a supportive and thriving workplace environment that prioritizes employee mental wellbeing.

ABOUT INGOMU

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Why Supporting Employee Mental Wellbeing Is Key To Your Success, by Al Wynant. Ingomu CEO and Co-Founder with Ingomu coaches Sylvia Henderson, Paige Phelps and Jacqueline C. Ross.

Meet The Author:

Parker Franklin

Parker, IFG’s Brand Manager since 2022, began his wellness journey in 2020, leading to a significant personal transformation. He holds a journalism degree from Murray State University and started his career as an award-winning journalist in western Kentucky before transitioning into marketing and PR. At IFG, Parker is responsible for writing content, managing The Fit newsletter, and overseeing promotions and collaborations with affiliate fitness organizations.