Mental health is an increasingly popular subject these days, with many studies and organizations drawing attention to the fact that mental health issues are more prevalent and harmful than was previously believed.
In many ways, mental health is just as important as physical health in that it has a significant effect on one’s ability to perform to the best of their abilities while at the workplace.
As such, it’s important for organizations to recognize the importance of mental health in the workplace, and adjust policies and expectations accordingly.
This can be done through offering greater flexibility in the workplace, such as by offering flexible hours, the ability to work from home and greater autonomy.
Additionally, it’s also important to encourage employees to take mental health days if they are feeling mentally burdened.
While there is no need to create a separate form of time off specifically for mental health days, being candid with employees about the importance of their mental health and highlighting the ability to take time off or adjust hours worked to focus on mental health can go a long way toward improving morale, employee satisfaction and productivity.
To help encourage the use of time off for mental health at your organization, consider adopting the following practices:
Encourage conversations about mental health
Speak candidly to your employees about the topic, underscoring the fact that you understand and support decisions made in the interest of maintaining or improving mental health.
Provide resources and education about mental health to increase awareness and communicate any related policy changes to employees.
Adopt a policy of confidentiality
Employees may not feel comfortable disclosing the use or purpose of a mental health day, whether it’s a full day off to rest or a few hours off to see a therapist.
Make it known that requests for mental health days will not need a stated reason for approval.
Follow up after time off
While respecting their privacy, check in with employees after they have taken time off to find out if they are doing alright and if they require any additional support on your end, such as a temporarily lighter workload.
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