In recent years, Canadian employers have become much more attuned to the issue of mental health in the workplace. More education and awareness around mental health is being spread to end the stigma through advocacy programs like Bell Let’s Talk, which are inspiring employers to take more initiative. As an advisor, you can provide additional value to your clients by looking at benefits holistically and recommending non-traditional options that can help support mental health in the workplace.
Not only are about 30% of short- and long-term disability claims in Canada attributed to mental health problems, according to the Mental Health Commission of Canada, but such issues are believed to cost Canadian employers more than $6 billion in lost productivity every year. While such numbers may seem high, around seven million Canadians – or roughly 20% of the population – experience mental health problems annually, and up to 500,000 Canadians are unable to work in any given week due to mental health issues.
Here are three ways you can create a better work environment to support employee mental health:
1) Build a supportive work environment
The department of Employment and Social Development Canada believes that the best means for supporting mental health at work is by creating a “respectful and productive” workplace environment. The department recommends that employers utilize the following eight top practices to create this supportive work environment:
- Encourage employee participation and decision-making
- Cleary define employees’ duties and responsibilities
- Promote work-life balance
- Encourage respectful behaviours
- Manage workloads
- Provide training and opportunities for learning
- Maintain conflict resolution practices
- Effectively recognize employees’ contributions
The department further suggests that employers turn to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) for specific tools and resources to help them build a supportive work environment.
2) Provide resources to help promote healthy minds at work
Noting that there is “no right way to create a mentally healthy workplace,” the CCOHS helps employers build their supportive work environments through its online resource Healthy Minds@Work. Every workplace is different, so the site provides various tools to address mental health in the workplace from all angles, whether from the perspective of the employer or the employee.
Among key resources offered in the promotion of a mentally healthy workplace are those addressing work-life balance and interpersonal growth and development. Some of these Healthy Minds@Work resources further emphasize the importance of physical activity, diet and various stress relievers in the promotion of workers’ mental health.
3) Enhance workplace mental health with benefits
These mental health boosters and related enhancers of work-life balance and interpersonal growth can be offered to employees through benefits. Many companies already offer their employees gym memberships as a benefit. Benecaid’s digital product, the Honeybee Allowance Account, provides these types of non-traditional benefits by offering an allowance that supports employee participation in the physical and mental activities of their choice – whether that’s yoga, meditation, massages, Pilates, or any number of other health-promoting pursuits.
Honeybee can also be used to promote employees’ work-life balance and interpersonal growth by offering coverage for things such as entertainment, transportation, healthy eating and continuing education. Whether as stand-alone or combined, all of these health- and lifestyle-related benefits can enhance your employees’ well-being and support their mental health.
Contact your Executive Benefits Consultant or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the Honeybee Allowance Account and non-traditional benefits that support workplace mental health.