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Cultivate a mentally healthy workplace in your small business

As a small business owner, it’s safe to assume you truly understand the saying “wearing many hats”. From financial management to operational efficiency, you have a lot to juggle. What about actively addressing the significance of workplace mental health? Is that one of your hats?

Mental well-being of employees is just as important as their physical health. This article will help with understanding the importance of workplace mental health and highlight some simple strategies that could positively affect your business.

By prioritising mental health in your workplace, you’re investing in the long-term success of your business. Here’s why it matters:

Employee engagement

Employees with good mental health are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and committed to their work. They’re also more likely to contribute to a positive work culture.


Poor mental health can significantly affect productivity levels. Stress, anxiety, and depression can cause employees to struggle with concentration, decision-making, and creativity.

Absenteeism and presenteeism

Mental health issues often lead to increased absenteeism (taking time off) and presenteeism (being physically present but not fully functioning). Presenteeism can also refer to situations where your employees are at work for more hours than is actually required, often driven by job insecurity and a need to demonstrate commitment, negatively impacting their overall well-being and workplace performance which in turn negatively impacts your business. 

Talent retention

An organisation that prioritises a mentally healthy workplace as part of their culture, is attractive to top talent, reducing employee turnover and improving overall job satisfaction.

Identifying mental health issues in the workplace

As a small business owner, you’re in a unique position to observe and address mental health issues within your teams. Here are a few common warning signs to look out for:

  • Changes in behaviour or mood
  • Decreased performance and productivity.
  • Withdrawal from co-workers or social situations
  • Frequent sick days and/or unexplained absences
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions.

Remember, early intervention is crucial. Encourage open conversations about mental health and create a supportive environment where employees feel comfortable and open to discussing their struggles.

Five simple strategies for promoting mental health in your business

Improving workplace mental health doesn’t need to be a costly or complex endeavour. Here are some strategies you can implement:

1. Prioritise work-life balance

Encourage employees to establish boundaries between work and personal life. Set reasonable expectations, allow for flexible scheduling, and authentically demonstrate a culture of respect for personal boundaries where working excessive hours does not become a rule.

2. Foster a positive work culture

Create a workplace culture that values open communication, respect, and inclusion. Encourage teamwork and collaboration and recognise and reward employees’ accomplishments.

3. Provide access to mental health support

Offer access to resources, such as employee assistance programs (EAPs) or counselling services like those offered by CompCare Medical Scheme’s psychosocial benefit.

4. Train managers and supervisors

Provide training for managers and supervisors to help them recognise and address mental health issues. They should be suitably equipped to be confident to effectively offer support, guidance, and resources to their colleagues.

5. Encourage physical health

Promote regular physical activity, healthy eating, and sufficient sleep as a part of your company culture. A healthy lifestyle can significantly impact mental health and offering resources that promote this 360-degree approach to wellbeing creates value and connection with your employees.

As you juggle the many hats that come with entrepreneurship, be sure to make room for one that is finely tailored to prioritise and embrace the importance of mental health for your people. By investing in the well-being of your employees and fostering a supportive work environment, you will see tangible benefits such as increased engagement, productivity, and talent retention.

Remember, the well-being of your employees is the foundation of your business, and by implementing simple strategies, you can create a workplace where everyone can thrive.

When you care more, everyone benefits.

Compcare is a proud National Partner of the NSBC

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