Workplace Mental Health Strategies for Employers

dad working from home with two kids

In early 2020, organizations had to quickly pivot to mitigate health and safety risks brought on by a new, highly contagious disease. The COVID-19 pandemic created an unexpected opportunity for employers to better support their employees by bringing mental health issues front and center.

While shifting to remote operations was the best solution for many businesses, not all industries had that option. A PwC pulse survey found that main source of stress for employees in jobs that required frequent contact with the public was the fear of contracting COVID-19 in the workplace.

For those who began working from home full time, stress quickly set in. Most employees grappled with maintaining work-life balance amid home-related activities and more household chores and caregiving duties, including home-schooling and childcare.

Seeing the additional strain on employee well-being and productivity, employers began prioritizing company-wide mental health efforts.

Workplace mental health strategies for employers

Attend workplace mental health events to learn from experts and peer businesses.
As Michigan businesses fully reopen and employers return to the in-person workplace, mental health will remain front and center. The University of Michigan Eisenberg Family Depression Center’s Workplace Mental Health Solutions team in collaboration with the Center for Occupational Health and Safety Engineering, is bringing together key stakeholders to discuss strategies to improve employee mental health at the 2nd Annual Workplace Mental Health Conference on August 18. Topics will include transforming company culture, innovations in workplace mental health, case studies, and special presentations on millennials and compassion in the workplace.

What to expect:

    • Learn tips to kickstart your workplace mental health initiative.
    • Hear from well-respected industry experts.
    • Get your questions answered through interactive Q&A.
    • Learn from a selection of personal stories, case studies, and panel discussions.

Talk about the importance of self-care at work.
The number one barrier to seeking mental health treatment is stigma. Employers have the power to change that within their organization by prompting conversations about the importance of taking care of yourself mentally. Frequently promote your company’s EAP and always be available when an employee who wants to talk.

Conduct surveys.
Transitioning back into the work environment is a major source of anxiety for many employees. To help them maintain positive mental health and well-being during the transition, Michelle B. Riba, co-lead of the Eisenberg Family Depression Center’s Workplace Mental Health Solutions team, advises leadership to gather data on how employees are feeling.

“Develop anonymous surveys to ask employees what concerns them about returning to the workplace and start addressing those concerns now,” said Riba. “Gathering data will be very important to support employees through the process.”

Share resources with employees.
Whether it is practicing mindfulness, reducing stress to avoid burnout, or seeking professional help, there are several strategies employers can share with employees to support workplace mental health. Read more.