Supporting Employee Mental Health & Well-Being
Updated: Aug 29
Promoting employee well-being and mental health is crucial for creating a healthy and productive work environment. Recent research has found that:
Knowing this, it is imperative to both your employees’ health and your organization’s ability to attract and retain new talent that you prioritize mental health and well-being in the workplace. The Surgeon General’s Framework for Workplace Mental Health and Well‑Being includes Five Essentials to “support workplaces as engines of well-being," pictured below.
Findings from a Harvard and MIT research review, called The Work and Well-Being Initiative, supported the Surgeon General’s framework. Researchers uncovered that improving working conditions by focusing on worker health and well-being leads to better health for employees and better outcomes for the organization, such as improved job performance and lower levels of employee burnout. They developed seven strategies employers can use to encourage and support employee health and business performance:
1. Give workers more control over how they do their work:
Increased autonomy can lead to improved mental health and a decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and more.
2. Allow employees more flexibility about when and where they work:
Providing employees with some control over their schedules can improve their mental and physical health and results in reduced employee turnover.
3. Increase the stability of workers’ schedules:
Erratic work schedules can lead to poorer sleep quality and greater emotional distress for employees. A study at Gap found that more predictable schedules led to improved productivity and sales as well as health benefits for employees.
4. Provide employees with opportunities to identify and solve workplace problems:
Research has found that being involved in workplace problem-solving resulted in employees who experienced less burnout, increased job satisfaction, and decreased desire to leave their jobs.
5. Keep your organization adequately staffed, so workloads are reasonable:
Having a demanding job and little control can lead to increased risk of depression, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Hiring more staff may seem costly, but so is absent staff and high turnover. Increased support can lead to improved efficiency and satisfaction.
6. Encourage managers in your organization to support employees’ personal needs:
Being more supportive of work-life balance and accommodating to personal needs of employees can lead to improved employee health outcomes, job satisfaction and performance.
7. Take steps to foster a sense of social belonging among employees:
Building supportive relationships in the workplace can result in decreased psychological distress. Social belonging exercises in high stress jobs were found to significantly decrease burnout and employees’ desire to leave their jobs.
Whether you are considering upgrading your physical workspaces, providing more robust health plans or Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), or offering flexible working arrangements or more paid time off, your efforts are likely to benefit both your employees and your organization.
Promoting employee well-being and mental health is an ongoing process. If you need help assessing the effectiveness of your initiatives or discovering what programs would work best for your employees, please don't hesitate to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're excited to partner with you on this journey.
Kelly, E. L., Berkman, L. F., Kubzansky, L. D., & Lovejoy, M. (2021, December 8). 7 strategies to improve your employees’ health and well-
being. Harvard Business Review.
U.S. Surgeon General (2022). Workplace Mental Health & Well-being. Current Priorities of the U.S. Surgeon General.