Supporting Mental Health in the workplace
By Kayleigh Capuzzimati
Mental Health in the workplace is becoming more important than ever for businesses and employees alike.
With all the stress and external pressures spreading across the globe, it’s easy for employees to feel overwhelmed and anxious. Challenged with everything from finding work-life balance in a work-from-home environment, to coping with concerns about the safety of loved ones, it’s no surprise that anxiety levels are at an all-time high. From a workplace point of view, feelings like these can lead to a decrease in productivity, disengagement from the work and even conflict among colleagues.
Viewed against this backdrop, you might argue that Mental Health Days are becoming more of a business imperative than a business benefit, and that giving your team an additional day to decompress is vital to keeping your organization running optimally and increasing business efficiencies. Certainly, a well-timed day off will go a long way towards helping prevent a surge of both physical and mental burnout among employees, and that, in turn, from causing lasting issues for your company.
For a Mental Health Day to have any real benefit though, it’s important that employees feel supported in taking that time off. Executive leadership can play an important role in this regard – setting the example for staff to follow. Behaviors might include sharing what they plan to do with their day off, and not sending emails, texts or messages on the day of, which place pressure on employees to respond. Another way to ensure that people derive the full benefit, is to provide them with tips on how to spend that time in a constructive way that allows them to truly switch off. These might include:
Set a goal for your day but one that doesn’t include routine tasks like grocery shopping or a trip to the DMV, so you truly feel the relaxation effects. Feeling like you accomplished something will satisfy your need to be productive and prevent feelings of guilt or stress over ‘wasting’ a day.
Get to bed early, and wake early-ish, making sure to get at least 8-10 hours of sleep, so you can enjoy your day to the fullest.
Do something enjoyable. Seriously, find something to do that you know will bring you joy.
Give yourself an hour to do absolutely nothing. Sit in the garden, smell the roses, stick your toes in the sand if you like, wherever you sit, just kick back, relax, reflect, and breathe. An hour of doing nothing is the ultimate luxury and a guaranteed way to decompress.
Finally, for this precious time to be truly beneficial to both the company and employees, it must be well timed. That is to say employers should keep a constant eye on the stove. If steam starts to build, and the pot shows signs it is starting to boil, then a Mental Health Day will serve as a pressure release valve before the pot boils over.
About the author:
Kayleigh Capuzzimati is Waters Agency’s in-house Digital Specialist, based in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is an experienced account director, digital media manager and through-the-line strategist, with special interest and passion in the digital media and marketing space. With 9+ years in the digital marketing space across several blue-chip brands, and a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Marketing, Kayleigh brings a wealth of valuable digital knowledge to the Waters team.