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Stepping Back For A Mental Health Checkup


As a Small Business Owner or Manager you wear many hats; perhaps one of the most overlooked of your duties is acting as your employee’s psychiatrist, counselor, etc.  At a basic level, employee A’s productivity is suffering and they don’t seem themselves.  As your business’ resident shrink, it is your responsibility to speak with Employee A and find out what’s bothering them.  On a much greater scale, your employee may show no reduction in productivity but are suffering from severe depression unbeknownst to anyone. 

Maintaining strong mental health is essential; not just in the workplace, but at home as well.  When someone is suffering mental health issues, it poses a serious concern to their physical well-being in addition to the job-related problems they may encounter.  This is more relevant than ever in today’s environment as employees are facing once in a generation challenges in addition to standard day to day stresses.  As a small business owner, you may not have the structure in place for a strong Human Resources Department and in many cases you are that department in its entirety.  Due to the lack of resources available to small business owners, it is essential you are looking at your employees mental health from a proactive standpoint versus reactive.  So then….how do you do it?

Hire a Pro  

What may be the easiest, and likely the most expensive, manor to address mental health issues amongst your staff is to hire a professional.  Just because you wear many hats in your company and are good at many things, it doesn’t mean you have the experience or training to handle every obstacle your business encounters.  Sometimes the best course of action is to enlist the services of a professional trained in identifying and addressing mental health issues.

Create a Positive Culture

Creating and maintaining a positive culture is arguably the best, and most difficult, way to address mental health issues.  If your staff members are happy with limited stress in the workplace, they will of course be less susceptible to day to day stresses that may hurt their mental health.  Stress in the workplace is practically impossible to eliminate entirely without affecting productivity….please let me know if you find out how… but there are several ways to minimize it.  Harbor a team atmosphere, ensure everyone in your staff feels they are a valuable part of your team and contributing to your business’ success.  If your staff feel included, they will be more adept at dealing with stresses than if they felt alone or excluded.  

Adapt your Staff Meetings  

Staff meetings are generally reserved for work or for morale boosters such as office parties, happy hours etc.  Changing the structure of your staff meetings or holding additional meetings aimed at improving your staff’s mental health may serve as a good use of your time.  If you don’t have the time to hold a dedicated meeting, take the first or last 5 minutes of your staff meeting to have an open forum.  Talk about what is happening in the news, your staff members personal lives, sports etc.  While it may seem trivial, this will help to harbor that team atmosphere we were talking about and encourage your staff to be more open to one another.

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