May 04, 2022 / Employee Retention

5 Tips to Help Improve the Mental Health of Your Frontline  

At WorkJam, the wellbeing of your frontline is our top priority. In fact, it’s one of the reasons we exist. But more on that later–first, let’s talk about mental health and its impact on your teams, their happiness and productivity, and ultimately, your bottom line. 

There’s a lot of talk about “work/life balance.” Another way of seeing this is “life/work balance.” This perspective considers your frontline’s personal lives, goals, and aspirations, making you an employer of choice, because who wouldn’t want to work for a company that truly cares about the wellbeing of their teams. (That wasn’t a real question. We believe that EVERYONE wants this.) 

And here’s the kicker: employee mental health is just as much a worker issue as it is an employer one. When your team’s mental health suffers, your business suffers too — it’s simple math.  

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression and anxiety are costing the global economy $1 trillion per year in lost productivity. That’s a lot of cha-ching! 

Treating mental health issues has been shown to improve people’s wellbeing and performance in the workplace. A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that almost 80% of employees treated for mental illness reported “high levels of work efficacy and satisfaction.”  

Meanwhile, those treated for depression reduced absenteeism and presenteeism by 40% to 60%. 

The data is clear: the more mentally fit your employees are, the better they’ll perform at their jobs.  

Fortunately, there are several ways to improve the mental health of your team.  

Here are five tips!

1. Eliminate discrimination and stigma against mental health

Too often, problems like anxiety and depression are considered personal failures, as if people suffering from these illnesses are “weak” and need to suck it up.  

The truth is that these perceptions only make matters worse. The Mental Health Foundation found that nine out of ten people suffering from mental illness say that discrimination and stigma have negatively affected their lives.  

That said, the first step to alleviating mental health is to remove the stigma surrounding it. Cultivate an organizational culture and environment that makes people feel safe and understood (instead of judged) when they encounter problems with mental health. Doing so encourages them to seek help and find ways to get better. 

2. Get a pulse on the mental health of your employees

To effectively address the mental health of your teams, you first need to know what you’re dealing with.  

Get a pulse on your team’s mental health by sending out surveys and polls, asking them how they feel and what you can do to help. With WorkJam, you can easily send these out to be answered anonymously. 

Questions like, what specific problems are you facing and what would make you feel more supported will go a long way in helping you design the right initiatives and tailor them to the unique needs of your employees. <

3. Provide mental health tools and resources

Equip your employees with tools and resources that will train them on how to better manage their mental health. This can include:

Learning programs

There are various strategies for managing stress and anxiety, but not a lot of people know how to use them. So, why not give your team access to employee learning programs or courses that teach these techniques? (By the way, you can easily set up a learning center with WorkJam, where your frontline can learn right in the flow of their workday with short videos and other types of media.) 

You can choose to develop these programs in-house using your learning management system or training platform. Another option is to tap into third parties that offer these resources. LinkedIn Learning, for example, has a number of courses related to mental health.

Coaching

Sometimes, people need coaches to help them navigate the issues they’re going through. Depending on your organization, it may make sense to offer mental health coaching.  

Again, this can be done in-house. Have members of your HR team go through mental health certification programs so they can coach others. 

Alternatively, you can connect your employees with third-party coaches who can provide the support they need. A great example is Modern Health, which is a platform that works with certified coaches to help employers support their team’s wellbeing. 

Mobile Mental Health Apps

There are several mobile apps that offer self-service mental health resources right at your employees’ fingertips. Apps such as Headspace, Shine, and Happify all do a great job at empowering users to take better care of themselves.  

You may want to consider including them in your mental health programs. Some employers, for example, are purchasing subscriptions to these apps to help make self-care tools more accessible to their team members. 

4. Offer flexibility

Flexible working conditions can improve your employees’ mental health. Results from a study by Durham University indicate that flexible working arrangements, including flextime and self-scheduling, were found to improve health, including systolic blood pressure and heart rate, tiredness, mental health, sleep duration, sleep quality, and alertness.  

Clearly, it pays to give your team members more flexibility, particularly when it comes to their work schedules. By enabling them to take better control of their time, workers are empowered to find an optimal life/work balance, which can ultimately reduce stress and improve their wellbeing.  

Bonus tip: You can implement scheduling flexibility using WorkJam’s Open Shift Marketplace (OSM), a module that lets you crowdsource your internal workforce needs. When you publish available shifts to the marketplace, employees who are available and eligible for those shifts can pick them up with a quick tap of a button right from their own smartphone or other device. 

OSM also allows team members to swap shifts with others without having to manually coordinate or go back and forth with each other. OSM can even let workers pick up shifts outside of their home store, giving them the opportunity to take on extra shifts and make more money.

5. Help alleviate financial stress

This is a big one. Money (or the lack of) is a key contributor to mental health problems. A survey by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute found that nearly half (46%) of those with debt problems also suffer from mental health issues. What’s more, 86% of respondents said that their financial situation made their mental health issues even worse.  This tells us that alleviating your team’s financial burdens can improve their mental health. As an employer, one thing you could do is to make it easier for employees to access their wages when the need arises. 

Consider implementing an employer-sanctioned program like WorkJam’s ExpressPay, which allows employees to withdraw a fixed percentage of their accrued earnings without having to wait for the next official payday.  

Unlike predatory services like payday loans, ExpressPay doesn’t come with any fees on the employee side. It simply allows employees to withdraw money that they’ve already earned so they can cover immediate expenses and relieve financial stress. 

Bringing it all together

Helping to improve employees’ mental health starts by normalizing and talking about it. From there, you need to come up with the necessary initiatives tailored to your workforce needs.  

WorkJam offers several other approaches to support the mental health and life/work balance programs in your workplace. As THE digital frontline workplace, WorkJam helps you and your teams be as productive and efficient as you possibly can. And since your frontline workers are the face of your brand, it’s important that they feel good about their jobs. We don’t need to tell you that happy frontline workers = happy customers. (Except that we just did, so perhaps take it as a friendly reminder that we are here to help you achieve that.) 

WorkJam is designed to help you revolutionize the way you and your frontline: 

  • Communicate 
  • Share 
  • Plan schedules 
  • Get things done 
  • Develop and grow – both as individuals and as a team 

To learn more, download our whitepaper on how to develop and achieve a resilient workforce.  

Cheers! 

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