For most Australians, 2021 has been a year of transition and rebuilding. Now that we’re a few months from the new year, businesses, including complementary therapists, are implementing new policies and procedures in preparation for the great reopening. As you plan your return, here’s why and how to build a mentally healthy business for 2022 and beyond.
What is Mental Health?
Even though you have the training and technical skills that your business needs, you also need to be a great manager. Manager is an all-inclusive word that defines how you communicate, train, and lead your staff. Without the proper management skills, you will not be able to grow your business, retain employees, and even acquire new customers. Do you have the traits of a good manager? If not, how do you get them?
Why should Businesses Prioritize Mental Health in 2022 and Beyond?
Building a mentally healthy therapy practice is essential now more than ever because:
The Transition Will Not Be Easy
Living through 2020 and 2021 has been challenging for all. For Australian employees, it meant transitioning from office to remote work during the national lockdown while dealing with uncertain times caused by the pandemic. Now that you’re reopening, they’ll need to readjust routines and deal with changes you’ve implemented to safeguard your practice from uncertain times. This, coupled with personal issues, can lead to stress, and poor mental health, which will, in turn, impede productivity. Supporting their wellbeing through a mentally healthy work environment will help prevent this, facilitating smooth business continuity.
The Modern Employee is Serious about Mental Health
Although the pandemic season was hard, it has changed how the world perceives mental health. Thanks to increased awareness by movements like R U OK, issues like depression and anxiety are now dinner table talk, and employees countrywide consider their mental health a priority. Employers are responding quite positively. A Gartner research shows 68% of businesses introduced Covid-19 wellness benefits for their employees and plan to increase their mental health budgets in coming years. It’s therefore paramount for business owners to build mentally healthy workplaces as they’ll be vital to attracting and retaining quality employees in 2022 and beyond.
How Businesses Can Support Mental Health
Here’s how you can build a mentally healthy business for 2022 and beyond:
Understand Mental Health Issues at Your Workplace
You cannot build a mentally healthy business if you don’t know what issues your employees face. Consider running surveys to find out everyday stressors in your organization and to measure stress levels. Also, learn how to identify early signs of emotional and mental distress and what to do in such scenarios. Common signs your employees might be stressed include signs to look out for:
- Increasingly irritable or overly sensitive
- Visibly tired
- Working extra-long hours and through breaks
- Social isolation
- Lack of concentration
There’s power in vulnerability. Sharing your experiences and mental health struggles shows you’re human and makes you more relatable. It also makes you more approachable, especially to employees who might be struggling with similar issues. Cultivate a culture of vulnerability by asking for help and admitting whenever you’re wrong. Also, create psychologically safe spaces where employees can discuss anything from personal issues to hardships they might be experiencing at the workplace.
Promote Work-Life Balance
Work and life balance refer to a state of equilibrium between an individual’s professional and personal life. It involves striking a balance between one’s work and personal life such that neither takes up more time than it should. Creating a healthy work-life balance allows your employees to achieve their personal goals while meeting their professional obligations. As a result, they become happier and self-driven at their job and are less likely to be burned out since they’re not over-exerted. Besides better mental wellbeing, a healthy work-life balance also means fewer health problems and a better relationship between you and them. To achieve this balance, set achievable workloads for your employees, and offer flexible work hours.
Encourage them to take time off by implementing short breaks throughout the day, and set up meditation rooms in your therapy practice or break-out spaces where they can socialize. Create a mandatory vacation policy where your employees utilize their days off. Remember to practice what you preach by taking time off too. While at it, note, work-life balance means different things to Millenials, Gen Z, and baby boomers. So ask your employees for input too on how you can create a healthy work-life balance for them.
Offer Mental Health Resources
The easiest way to support and build a mentally healthy business is by offering access to resources. For instance, make it easy for them to access professional therapists by including mental health coverage in their health plans. Bring wellness to the workplace by organizing stress management and mental wellness workshops or even hiring a meditation practitioner occasionally. Establish policies regarding issues like discrimination, bullying, and harassment as well. Also, encourage conversations about mental health by constantly reminding your team about company wellness assistance programs in your monthly newsletters.
Introduce Flexible Schedules
Some people naturally have a hard time opening up. So, consider introducing paid time off policies. These policies often involve combining an employee’s sick and vacation days, allowing them to enjoy more time off work whenever they need it. Make these policies flexible such that an employee can take a break without having to disclose actual reasons. Also, consider allowing your team a chance to set their schedules. It’ll allow them to center their work hours around times when they’re most productive, conversely reducing work-related stress. They’ll also feel empowered, motivating them to become self-driven.
Creating a Mentally Healthy Workplace
2021 might have been a little kinder to humanity, but that doesn’t mean the transition to remote workplaces and then back to office settings has been easy. Building a mentally healthy workplace takes time and dedication, but it will help boost productivity and overall business efficiency.
Grow Your Business With Confidence and Ease
Wherever you are on your journey, International Institute of Complementary Therapists (IICT) can help with membership tools and resources help keep you up to date with the latest industry requirements. Feel supported with the essentials for a thriving complementary therapy practice – Credibility, Cover, Community and Confidence. Find out more about IICT here.