Fueling your company’s success starts with employee emotional health. Each year, one in five adults in the U.S. will experience emotional health challenges, but too often, support falls short. This untapped potential costs businesses – not just from absenteeism but from dimmed productivity and disengagement. Imagine the spark business leaders can ignite by promoting healthy minds to unlock happier, more resilient teams.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers reports that depression and anxiety cost the global economy $1 trillion per year. For every $1 spent on treating common mental health concerns, there’s a return of $4 in improved health and productivity. In some studies, treatment of depression has been shown to reduce absenteeism and presenteeism by 40 to 60 percent.
Modern life can blur the lines between work and well-being. When there’s an imbalance between demands on people and their available resources, burnout and fatigue result. Happier, more productive employees with thriving mental health happen when we champion work-life harmony. HR leaders empower teams to thrive, not just survive.
Create a happier, more productive, and more engaged workforce by supporting your people as they seek balance, conquer burnout, and hold healthy boundaries to protect their mental health. This article will show you how to recognize burnout, help your people implement simple everyday routines, and curtail employee stress, overwhelm, and anxiety.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Recognize and conquer burnout for your employees
- Build resilience and empower employees to thrive
- 6 strategies to support employee mental health
- Level up healthy employee engagement with lifestyle benefits
Recognize and conquer burnout for your employees
Burnout isn’t confined to the office. From caregiving burdens to financial anxieties, life’s demands can trigger “surface-level overwhelm” – a state of feeling flooded by tasks, information, and pressures. Unchecked, it can impact employee performance and well-being. HR leaders can foster a more resilient and engaged workforce by actively supporting employees in managing overwhelm.
Be alert for changes in employee behavior, productivity, or mood. Frequent absences, missed deadlines, and emotional withdrawal can indicate simmering overwhelm. According to Deloitte’s 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey, 52% of Gen Z report “feeling burned out.” That number is even higher than for the slightly older millennials, of whom 49% feel burned out.
Burnout’s core feature is emotional exhaustion. Persistent exposure to unresolvable stress in the workplace, organizational failures such as excessive job demands, and lack of appropriate resources make people feel disengaged from their work and their colleagues.
Empower proactive strategies by training employees in time management, prioritization, and delegation techniques. And build a culture of support where colleagues can share responsibilities and workloads, encouraging open communication. When employers reduce surface-level overwhelm, they support employee mental health and free up time and energy for total wellness.
Build resilience and empower employees to thrive
Stress is a reality, especially in the dynamic world of work. Busy schedules and demanding tasks leave employees feeling overloaded. Instead of just weathering the storm, HR leaders can equip employees with proactive strategies to build resilience, making challenges easier to navigate and overcome.
Focusing on daily practices and healthy rhythms empowers employees to be their best selves daily. By providing practical tools, smart leaders create a foundation of resilience to help teams thrive. Investing in well-being isn’t just good for your people. It’s good for business. By prioritizing and promoting employee well-being, you’re building a thriving workplace where everyone can reach their full potential.
6 strategies to support employee mental health
Even simple decisions feel insurmountable when an employee is stressed, burned out, or facing a mental health challenge. Offering strategies to ease frustration and using Lifestyle Spending Accounts to support those strategies helps your people feel empowered and engaged. Here are 6 strategies to support employee mental health:
1. Celebrate universal access
Give people the gift of the courage to care for themselves. Great leaders model a healthy lifestyle and clear boundaries at work. Demonstrate that self-care is crucial to long-term health and success. Mindshare’s 2019 Partner’s Mental Health at Work study found that an overwhelming majority of employees crave transparency in their company’s mental health offerings and a more supportive culture surrounding emotional wellness in the workplace.
Delete email apps from personal phones, set work hours, truly unplug, and make sure you’re utilizing employee wellness benefits with transparency and open communication. Empower your people with inclusive employee lifestyle benefits, celebrated as universally accessible and equitable at all levels of an organization. They’re a win-win for business leaders and people teams.
2. Offer flexible or shortened workweeks
How much time can we dedicate to work and stay healthy? A recent study by the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization shows that regularly working more than 55 hours a week has negative effects on health and well-being. Overwork means stress, reduced job satisfaction, and diminished health.
Employees’ physical and mental health improves when organizations embrace a shorter workweek. Research shows people value their jobs more, overall wellness improves, and stress levels go down. And in most cases, people are as productive in four days as they are in five. Pairing flexible schedules with strategic benefits allows employees to invest in what matters most to them – whether they’re enrolling in wellness programs, finding third places, or pursuing a degree in their free time.
More time for leisure activities and self-care means healthier lifestyles and improved overall public health. Efficient work schedules with longer breaks reduce absenteeism and sick days. Everyone deserves enough free time to enjoy their lives. Organizations can structure strategic benefits to enhance employees’ lives and encourage their people to make the most of their lives and time away from work, no matter what they plan to do with their time.
Expanded reimbursement programs celebrate the multifaceted nature of physical wellness with personalized benefits to meet diverse needs.
3. Encourage grounding practices
Stability, healthy outlets, and grounding practices can protect employee mental health and prevent burnout. Employees can use wellness reimbursements for therapy sessions through BetterHelp or TalkSpace, meditation apps like Calm or Headspace, or even apply funds for wellness retreats. These tools can help manage anxiety or depression and improve overall mental health.
Allow employees to use LSA funds for experiences that contribute to total well-being and work-life balance, such as additional vacation days, mental health days, or activities that help them recharge. Health components of fitness trackers or subscriptions encourage mindfulness and healthy movement. Physical activity, like walking or screen-free meetings, improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood. Healthy movement strengthens cognitive function and encourages social connections.
4. Prioritize physical wellness
A strong body and mind are better equipped to handle stress. Workplace wellness solutions aren’t one-size-fits-all; every employee’s wellness journey is unique. Some employees struggle to eat healthily amid busy lifestyles. Others crave physical activity beyond the walls of a gym. Encourage healthy habits like nutritious eating, regular exercise, and quality sleep. Expanded reimbursement programs celebrate the multifaceted nature of physical wellness with personalized benefits to meet diverse needs.
From thrilling outdoor adventures to interactive virtual classes and dynamic sports activities, fitness reimbursements can empower your team, no matter where they work or live. Employees can use lifestyle funds to subscribe to healthy meal subscriptions to make it easier for individuals to prepare nutritious meals at home. Or cooking classes or workshops that focus on preparing healthy and balanced meals from fresh local ingredients.
5. Celebrate uniqueness
Inclusive employee benefits strategies are structured to celebrate the uniqueness of employees. Flexibly meet diverse needs and empower your people to thrive in the workplace. And empower employees to make choices that align with their individual needs and preferences. This supports a diverse and inclusive workplace culture and contributes to overall employee satisfaction and well-being.
Recognize the distinct needs of dispersed teams by allowing LSA funds to be used for personalized office equipment that enhances comfort, productivity, and well-being. Offer inclusive dress code policies to accommodate varied work activities and environments and allow people to align their personal style and cultural preferences with their professional identity.
6. Demonstrate care
Employees are more engaged when they have peace of mind with their loved ones, whether their family includes people or pets. Smart companies provide strategic benefits that include people’s care needs regardless of their life stage.
Care benefits fill traditional benefits gaps to meet your people where they are. Child or dependent care and pet care all fall within the embrace of care benefits. No matter who your people dedicate their love to, offer support and assistance. Recognize the diverse needs of employees with families by allowing LSA funds to be used for childcare, babysitting services, educational materials, family-oriented activities, elder care, support networks, dog walking, and pet sitting.
Level up healthy employee engagement with lifestyle benefits
Burnout and mental health challenges can feel isolating. Create a sense of support for your workforce and space for wellness, healing and recovery. Build a workplace culture that enhances health and well-being and includes every leadership level. Job demands should be within the employees’ capabilities, and individuals should have an active role in deciding how their work is done.
People are more productive when they perceive workplace health support from their employer. And employees are bolstered by environments that reward creativity, teamwork, safety, and resilience to sudden organizational changes. These attributes of a healthy workplace act as a magnet to attract and retain top talent.