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The Reason to Prioritize Employee Mental Health in Startups

Note: This post has been guest authored by Anjan Pathak, who is the Co-Founder & CTO of Vantage Circle, a cloud-based employee engagement platform, and Vantage Fit, an all-in-one corporate wellness platform. He is an HR technology enthusiast, very passionate about employee wellness, and actively participates in corporate culture growth. He is an avid reader and likes to be updated on the latest know-how of Human Resources.

Startup culture is fast, dynamic, and competitive. Such environments cause high expectations, which leads to eventual stress, and depression in the workplace. Such mental health problems at work create a prejudiced result on employees’ work productivity.

Recent analysis from Xero found that 28% of startup owners typically neglect to support mental health. But 48% believe that they did a lot to assist employee mental health issues within the workplace.

Work is a major part of our lives. An average adult spends more time at work than at home. Burnout, stress, and anxiety are some vital problems within the workplace. However, these problems are hardly new. They were present even before the whole remote situation emerged due to Covid-19.

In 2019, around 11% of U.S. adults reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression. It skyrocketed to 42% by December 2020. By the end of the year, venture capital investors poured $1.5 billion into mental health-related startups.

Big or little, business leaders should brace themselves to fulfill the dramatically heightened need for mental health services. It’s vital to create a positive atmosphere that motivates individuals and makes staff happy. A positive atmosphere won’t solely contribute to business success however it can facilitate the retention of employees.

With staff citing mental health struggles, this article highlights the necessity for your startup to value your employees’ mental health at work. It conjointly provides steps that you can take to improve the well-being of your staff.

Importance of Employee Mental Health in a Startup

A good team spirit and employee well-being are crucial for a productive work environment. But, mental health problems are far more prevalent than we tend to assume. In fact, several studies show that only a small percentage of startups are concerned about the mental health of their employees.

Depression and anxiety cost the global economy $1 trillion each year, according to the World Health Organization. The World Health Organization has also discovered that investing in mental wellness yields a $4 ROI for every $1 invested in scaled-up treatment for common mental disorders.

Most massive organizations perceive the importance of employees’ mental health challenges. The narrative of the business atmosphere is ever-changing in this regard. As per a report by MetLife, 57% of startup staff have expressed concern over their mental well-being.

Startup corporations are fast and volatile. This makes the atmosphere a lot more complicated and unpredictable for workers. Such environments result in high levels of attribution, which puts a bigger quantity of stress on the system. 

It is vital that you seek out mental health resources and professionals who can help your startup’s employees manage their mental health better. This will help design a wellness solution that focuses on your employees’ holistic well-being. Physical activity and nourishment are crucial for a healthy mind and mood sweetening.

Employers must also assess the mental health of their employees using a valid self-assessment tool. These assessments can provide baseline knowledge that can be used to customize the solutions for the corporate.

Steps to Enhance Well-being Among Workers

Employee engagement and productivity are associated with business success. Startups ought to learn to acknowledge instead of denying this reality to form sound business selections.

Employers ought to access opportunities to supply magnified flexibility to workers. They ought to enhance profit offerings by adding mental health benefits. These benefits modify workers to mitigate stress and increase individual monetary security.

In an absence of a psychologically safe environment, workers tend to hide their mental state. It could be a major reason why your employees are underperforming. Let’s cross-check the 5 measures to form your startup mentally stimulating:

1.   Work-life balance:

Employee engagement means differently to each individual. Through the large adoption of technology, workers are accessible round the clock. Also, concerns of job loss incentivize longer operating hours. According to a Harvard Business School survey, 94% of operating professionals operate about 50 hours per week. Half of the population said that they worked about 65 hours per week. However, the number of hours placed in could seldom be the proper yardstick to measure an employee’s contribution to the organization. Without work-life balance, workers suffer burnout and lose interest in their work. Employers ought to encourage them to take care of their work-life balance and live a healthy and gratifying life.

2.   Reduce stigmas:

Stigma is outlined as a mark of disgrace that sets an individual aside from others. It will occur because of misunderstanding in addition to prejudice. For folks living with a mental illness, the stigma will result in an absence of support or compassion. Such stigmas and biases in the workplace create prejudice. It’s necessary to encourage open discussions among workers facing psychological feature problems. They should be encouraged to talk out, discuss and get support for his or her physical health issues.

3.   Encourage Workers to live healthily:

An old saying states that only a healthy body can house a sound mind. Similarly, a healthy worker is a happy and productive employee. Prolonged illnesses, injuries make workers stressed and mentally unwell. Corporations ought to inspire workers to care for their health. And also insist them to join fitness sessions.

Paid sick leaves may seem like a price within the short run, however within the long term, they can do wonders. It is associated with an employee’s loyalty and results in higher output. Employers can create provisions for things like free insurance and encourage their workers to care for their well-being. Companies should opt for new initiatives such as offering frequent mental health breaks.

4.   Provide access to support systems:

Workplace support is a crucial characteristic that impacts the quality of company culture. Once your workforce is given the right access to support, higher productivity prospers. Nowadays, there are digital platforms that can assess employees’ mental health conditions. Employee assistance programs (EAP) provide guidance and solutions to issues. By implementing mental health programs, employers can easily assess their employees’ mental state. Further, they can work with the affected workers to assist them to endure their conditions. This could lead the workers to live a mentally and physically healthy life.

5.   Introduce mindfulness practices:

Mindfulness is an easy sort of meditation that encourages one to concentrate on the instant. It’s one of the simplest and least expensive ways to help your employees become healthier and happier. Mindfulness can be used as a fortification for stress and anxiety. It additionally works to boost emotional wellbeing and awareness. Employers should encourage their workers to follow mindfulness through varied mindfulness activities.

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