10 Tips for Line Managers to Support Mental Health in the Workplace

10 Tips for Line Managers to Support Mental Health in the Workplace

Mental health is a critical part of overall health and well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and behave, and it can influence our decisions, our relationships, and our work. ‘Always on’ working, hybrid set-ups and financial and family challenges can all place pressure on employees, and this is reflected in the findings of Cigna’s latest 360 Global Well-being Survey, with only 49% of respondents reporting positive workplace well-being.
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In recent years, employers have shifted their focus from reactive management of sickness absence to a more proactive approach of prevention through promoting well-being and improving employee engagement. As a line manager, you have an important role to play in supporting the mental health of your team members. Here are 10 tips to help you do that:

1. Create an open and safe space for communication 

It's important to create an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health. Encourage your team members to share their thoughts and feelings with you in a safe and confidential environment. Listen actively and provide emotional support where needed. Policies and procedures should be in place to support those who need help with their mental health.  

2. Set clear expectations and goals 

Clear expectations and goals help team members to focus on their tasks and manage their workload. Minimising overload can help prevent burnout and reduce stress levels. Make sure to communicate your expectations and goals to team members clearly. Regularly factor in time during your catch-ups or one-on-ones to ensure your employees’ deadlines are reasonable, that their work is clearly defined and well-matched to their abilities, and that they understand their role in the bigger picture.  

3. Provide training and development opportunities 

Investing in training and development opportunities can help employees feel valued and improve their mental health. By providing opportunities for skill development and career advancement, you can help employees feel more confident, fulfilled, and engaged in their work. 

4. Encourage a healthy work-life balance 

Providing your team members with resources to help them manage their time effectively, such as time-management tools or flexible schedules will help them to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Encouraging them to take breaks, maintain regular working hours, and use their holiday entitlements will also help their general well-being and reduce work-related stress levels. 

5. Offer mental health resources and support 

Provide your team members with mental health resources and support. This could include access to an employee assistance program (EAP), mental health services, or counselling. Make sure your team members are aware of the resources available to them, ensuring they know how to access them and encourage them to use them if they need help. 

6. Celebrate achievements and milestones 

Celebrate team members' achievements and milestones to boost morale, self-esteem and create a positive workplace culture. Recognise and reward their hard work and accomplishments, and encourage them to do the same for their colleagues. 

7. Foster a sense of community and belonging 

Encourage team members to connect with each other – try team-building activities, social events, or online chat groups. By fostering positive relationships and a sense of belonging, you can help team members feel supported and motivated. As a result, they’ll be more likely to speak up if they have a problem and help to break the stigma of mental health issues.  

8. Address conflicts and concerns promptly 

Interpersonal conflicts and workplace concerns should be addressed promptly to prevent them from escalating and causing unnecessary stress. In cases of conflict between colleagues, arrange to meet somewhere you know you won’t be interrupted and make sure to listen to both sides of the issue. You can then work together to find a solution that is best for everyone.

9. Be flexible and adaptable 

It's important to be open to new ways of working and supporting your team members. Consider offering flexible working arrangements such as job sharing, part-time work, or working from home if it’s viable for your business. The ability to work flexibily can help reduce stress levels and improve mental health. Make sure to regularly check in with the employee concerned and adjust your approach as needed. 

10. Lead by example 

Lead by example and model the behaviours you want to see in your team. Make sure to prioritise your own mental health and well-being and communicate that to your team members. Encourage them to do the same. 

As a line manager, your role is crucial in promoting the mental health and well-being of your team members. By following these 10 tips, you can help create a positive work environment, reduce stress and burnout, and improve employee engagement and productivity. Remember, a healthy workforce is a happy and productive workforce.

If you haven’t already taken the 5% Pledge, it’s a great way to demonstrate your commitment to employee mental health and workplace well-being.