World Mental Health Day is recognised annually by the World Health Organisation, with the purpose of raising awareness of mental health issues and improving the support available. 

With one in two people considering work-life balance key to good mental health, this awareness day presents the opportunity for employers and HR leaders to take the time Mental Health deserves, to consider how people managers and business leaders can better support the mental wellbeing of colleagues. 

A focus on cultivating a culture that supports positive mental health and attitudes towards work-life balance should be baked into every layer of an organisation to foster a more engaging, productive, and happier work culture. 

Employers can play a vital role in promoting good mental health with a long-term reward and recognition programme underpinned by policies that help colleagues strike the much sought-after balance.

Help managers to spot signs of stress and burnout

The sooner the signs of workplace stress and burnout are recognised, the better. 

HR teams should make sure managers are educated to help employees to share any mental health challenges and have the required tools to provide the right support and implement a plan to reduce any workplace anxiety. 

The WHO recently released a report for organisations around support strategies for employees experiencing poor mental health, or to appropriately manage the return of those who’ve taken sick leave as a result.

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Introduce HR policies that support balance

Underpinning reward and recognition programmes should be policies that support a healthy balance.

It’s important employees feel they can switch off and reset. Avoid contacting employees outside of work hours where possible to help ease the pressure of being constantly contactable. This is an especially important reminder following the trend of home and work life that the pandemic brought about.

Flexible, remote and hybrid working options continue to be of importance to employees. These offerings are particularly helpful to parents and carers, removing a layer of stress, but don’t forget that this is an attractive proposition to a wide range of employees who may have commitments that greater flexibility allows them to enjoy. 

Reward and recognition schemes improve employee wellbeing

There are multiple ways reward and recognition initiatives can promote a better work-life balance and reduce stress at work.  

Consider giving employees time back to encourage balance. Flexible late starts and early finishes are incentives that will give employees more time to relax, doing the things they love. 

Company-wide celebrations for career milestones and achievements can boost employees’ confidence and self-esteem, whilst motivating teams at the same time. These initiatives create opportunities for manager and peer-to-peer appreciation, which will have a positive impact on team morale and general mental health of all employees. 

Foster an interest in colleagues’ lives and celebrate their personal achievements. Recognising milestone moments such as getting married, moving house, or having a baby offers a personal touch and demonstrates an investment in people’s personal lives. 

Introducing schemes for ‘long service awards’ or  ‘employee of the month’, alongside bespoke rewards are great examples organisations should put into practice. Gestures such as rewarded gift cards for people to use on their favourite experiences recognises outstanding work while actively supporting people in indulging in their passions outside of work with their friends and family. 

Mental health should be recognised and supported every day and World Mental Health Day offers companies a gentle reminder that employee wellbeing should be a key consideration for any successful business.

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