The topic of mental health in the workplace is gaining in popularity, especially with the younger generations. According to a recent study, 91% of Gen Z and 85% of Millennials believe employers should have a mental health work policy in place. This brings up a controversial question: should employers offer mental health days? Here’s the scoop on mental health days and how they can be key to attracting younger job seekers to your company.
Up and coming generations were often accommodated for their mental health conditions in school settings — extra time for testing, specialized testing environments to help with concentration, etc. As a result, they are more comfortable discussing it in the workplace. About 78% of younger workers believe it’s important to openly discuss mental health in the workplace. Consequently, employers are struggling to accommodate these needs.
So, what can your team do to support the mental well-being of your staff members? Here are a couple of suggestions:
Encourage your staff to use their sick days
A few years ago, Madalyn Parker went viral for sending an email to her team, telling them that she was taking a few days off work to “focus on her mental health.” Subsequently, the company’s CEO was very supportive of her. Parker’s email is an excellent example of an employer being flexible and allowing their team to use “sick” time to recharge and focus on her health.
Don’t shy away from conversations
If one of your employees approaches you and wants to talk about their mental health, don’t brush them aside. Hear them out and see if there is anything you can do to help. Additionally, try to consistently invite open conversations about mental well-being. The worst thing you can do is create an environment of distrust. Employees need to feel comfortable discussing their well-being with their manager or HR. This is an essential step to creating a positive employee experience.
A few small changes are all it takes
The bottom line is that the younger generation is taking their mental health seriously. And as a result, employers must be more supportive in the workplace. You might be surprised at how much an open mind and a few quick adjustments to your company culture can create a more positive work environment.