16 May The Simple Answer to Addressing Mental Health in the Workplace
Know your people.
Helpful tips, lists of warning signs, even an action plan won’t help if you can’t apply them. The key to using the tools provided in our last article is putting them in context. And if you don’t know your people, you have no context.
You don’t have to know every detail of your team’s personal lives, but you should have an understanding of each individual’s typical demeanor and presentation. And be aware of changes. Especially those that could be warning signs of a problem.
This doesn’t mean watching your colleagues like a hawk for any behavior on the list. It means noticing changes and patterns. The changes could be a sign of a personal or professional problem other than a mental health issue.
Check in regularly.
It’s much easier to raise a concern with a co-worker if you have established a habit of checking in on a regular basis.
If you touch base with your team periodically to see how they’re doing in terms of workload, stress levels, and other work-related concerns, it becomes much easier to approach someone about changes in behavior.
You don’t need a scheduled “sit down” or set frequency. Just make a habit of asking each of your staff how they’re doing. Casually, but privately – so if there is a problem, they can feel comfortable responding candidly.
Make sure you check in when things are going well, as well as when you have a concern.
These two simple measures will make it easier to manage many “people” aspects in the workplace, not just the possibility of a mental health issue.