Mental health isn’t just a problem for employees — it’s also something that leaders need to consider, says Yvette Cameron, Senior Vice President of Global Product Strategy at Oracle Cloud HCM.
The stress of transitioning back into the office after the pandemic has left many feeling anxious and depressed. According to a study from Oracle, 70% of employees believe that the stress of work and worries about a dead-end job are bringing tension to their home lives. That’s why Cameron says that mental health in the workplace can no longer be swept under the rug — teams and managers need to learn to tackle issues head-on so that they don’t become more daunting issues later on.
The first thing that every leader should do, Cameron says, is destigmatize mental health within their team. Leaders should have regular check-ins with teammates to see if they feel heard or neglected. Employees should feel understood and valued, and they should have time for life outside of work. Without fostering connections in their personal lives, employees won’t be able to come back to work feeling recharged and invigorated.
Cameron recommends there should be scheduled time devoted to mental health in the workplace. This could include Wellness Wednesdays, in which a couple of hours are dedicated to employee wellness programs each Wednesday, or No Meeting Fridays, in which employees are allowed the freedom to do head-down work without the interruptions of meetings on Fridays. Another option is to conduct a walk-and-talk meeting that leaves the computer or office behind and allows employees to stretch their legs. Getting some sunshine and exercise is imperative for mental health, and managers can facilitate that pretty easily.
Lastly, Cameron says that taking pulse surveys are a great way to gauge the status of a team’s mental health. By having short and recurrent connections, managers can pivot their approaches depending on what their employees might need each week.