The Sense of Awe: How Managers Can Impact the Mental Health of Employees
The sense of awe is a feeling you experience when you are in the presence of something that inspires you. It can be brought on by nature, art, or even people. Research shows that awe has positive effects on mental health and can improve your ability to cope with stressful situations. Finding awe in the workplace is important for improving your mental health, but this can pose a serious challenge for most people.
The workplace can be filled with stress and anxiety, and it can feel impossible to be productive and efficient when you feel down. Managers play a huge role in how employees feel, so they should make it a priority to give their teams the emotional support they need to be satisfied at work. When managers are supportive, this fosters self-esteem among their employees and leads to better performance. Implementing the right workplace strategies for mental health holds the power to fundamentally transform your organization and employee base for the better.
How Can Mental Health Impact an Organization?
Poor mental health in the workplace is a common occurrence, with depression and anxiety being some of the most prevalent issues. The world has changed in recent years, and many people are facing new types of stressors that previous generations did not. As individuals feel more pressure to constantly be productive – both inside and outside work hours. This can take a significant toll on mental health as well as physical health. Stress contributes to gastrointestinal disorders, heart palpitations, sleeping problems, and cognitive difficulties, such as reducing the ability to concentrate, think clearly, and make decisions. Widespread stress can have far-reaching effects on the entire workplace, from draining confidence and hindering progress to increasing turnover and hurting profits.
What Causes Poor Mental Health in The Workplace?
Technology has connected us to work more than ever before. We are working longer hours with less time for ourselves. We’re often on our phones or laptops at home when we should be resting or spending time with family. And many people feel like they’re never off the clock because their email inbox is always open, and messages are waiting for them at all hours of the day. Being accessible 24/7 makes it difficult to separate our professional lives from our personal lives and results in burnout and poor mental health. All this leads to higher levels of stress and anxiety among employees that makes them more likely to develop various mental health issues.
Toxic workplace culture can also lead to poor mental health. Many workplaces are competitive, and people might feel like they’re not good enough or aren’t living up to expectations. Feeling like a failure is stressful and can cause depression or anxiety. Additionally, managers who are unsupportive of their employees also contribute to the problem. They might act in unprofessional ways, show unfair treatment to certain employees, or be overly critical, leading workers to feel bad about themselves and dread going to work each day.
How Can a Manager Influence a Positive Mental Health Culture?
When considering mental health strategies for managers to support their employees, the goal is not only to help individual team members but also to establish a positive mental health culture in the entire organization. Managers can accomplish this in the following ways:
- Being A Good Listener
- Encouraging The Expression of Emotions
- Maintaining Work-Life Balance
- Being A Good Role Model
- Working Hard & Setting Goals
- Making Work Fun
- Providing a space for employees to come together and discuss their fears
- Having regular check-ins from managers to look for signs of anxiety or depression
- Creating a plan for when employees are unable to work due to COVID-19 exposure
- Educating employees on what signs they might see in their coworkers that indicate they need additional help
- Providing healthy food options for employees
- Offering regular counseling sessions for employees who are struggling to cope
- Organizing healthy outlets for employees who would like additional support, such as yoga or meditation classes
- Actively listening to their team members
- Encouraging them to share their emotions
- Helping them maintain a healthy life-work balance
- Serving as a positive role model
- Working hard and setting goals
- Doing what they can to make work fun
It seems obvious, but the most helpful and supportive people spend far more time listening than talking. If managers make time to listen to their employees, they can gain valuable insight into what each employee thinks and feels about their work, their position, the work environment, policies, schedules, structure of work, etc.
Managers also need to show empathy when employees share their problems and concerns. This is crucial for developing strong relationships between employees and managers. As these relationships improve, it becomes easier for teams to resolve their issues and more likely that managers will enact positive change.
Managers need to encourage the expression of emotions. Everyone feels stressed, frustrated, or overwhelmed at some point during their workweek, and employees need to know that it is okay to express their emotions. This helps them feel comfortable with themselves and feel accepted in the workplace. Employees who are encouraged to express emotions are less likely to experience mental health problems like depression or anxiety because they’ll have a better understanding of themselves and what they want out of life. Managers need to show emotion, as well, especially positive ones. They can show cheerfulness to boost morale, enthusiasm to kick off a new venture, or gratitude when it succeeds. Expressing emotions can do wonders for mental health in the workplace.
Work-life balance is vital for ensuring employees can manage their personal lives, as well as their professional ones. One way that managers can support work-life balance is by creating flexible schedules that accommodate an employee’s needs. For example, employees that have children may need to leave early in the afternoon or arrive later at night because of daycare schedules, soccer games, or school plays.
Managers need to be aware of these types of things and support them when necessary. A manager can also help employees by encouraging time off. For example, if an employee has not taken time off in a long period of time or is working too many hours, managers need to encourage them to spend time away from their work obligations. This reminds employees that managers care about them, recognize their hard work, and want the best for them. In turn, this reduces employee stress levels, promotes a healthy work-life balance, and increases loyalty to the company.
It is important for managers to be good role models. When an employee sees that their manager invests their time and effort in the business but neglects to take care of themselves, it sends mixed messages about what type of lifestyle is “right” and what type of lifestyle isn’t to succeed. This can encourage employees to overwork themselves in the pursuit of maximum productivity and end up burning out instead. By demonstrating that there is a healthy balance between work and personal life, managers send the message that this is important for employees, as well.
Although this is not something that managers can always control, it is important for them to set a good example. In the business world, hard work and setting goals are two things that inspire and motivate employees. If managers are not putting in the same amount of time and effort as they ask their employees to or aren’t meeting their own goals but expect perfection from employees, this can lead to resentment.
Managers need to be aware of how hard their employees are working and what they are achieving. If an employee is not putting in the work they should be, the manager needs to discuss this with them and come up with a solution. If they are not only meeting expectations but exceeding them, the manager should recognize this and show their appreciation.
A manager can make work fun by providing the right environment, meaning one that promotes a positive mental health culture. It’s important to design an office space that employees enjoy spending time in. Simple changes like adding comfortable furniture, making your workplace dog-friendly, or investing in a high-tech espresso machine can bring endless hours of enjoyment. A manager can also improve the mood at work by making it more social. For example, managers might encourage employees to socialize with each other during lunch hours or treat their teams to happy hour drinks on Fridays. This helps them get to know each other on a personal level, which can make them more friendly, cooperative, and successful during work time.
Mental Health Strategies During COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused employee stress levels to skyrocket, especially after they have been in isolation. The best ways for managers to support mental health in the workplace are ensuring that their employees can maintain healthy lifestyles outside of work and providing safe spaces where they can find comfort in difficult moments. Managers should also provide proper communication channels so that employees have an outlet for any concerns or fears they may have about the virus.
Furthermore, it’s important for managers to know what signs might indicate that an employee needs additional help with coping with COVID-19, such as isolation from coworkers, decreased productivity at work, or frequent absences from work due to illness. They should consider implementing the following creative strategies:
Revolutionizing The Mental Health of The Business World
Managers who know how to create a sense of awe at work can go a long way in influencing their employees to be productive and passionate about their job while also supporting their mental health. They can accomplish this in a few ways:
Implementing effective and creative mental health strategies in the workplace can create a positive mental health culture, even during times of crisis. If you’re looking to create a positive mental health culture within your own workplace, contact the consultants at Apogee to learn more about how our services can help you.