Workplace Wellbeing: 9 Simple Ways To Improve Employee’s Mental Health

Workplace Wellbeing

Workplace Wellbeing Matters

Mental health is a vital aspect of workplace wellbeing and can significantly affect an individual’s ability to perform at their highest potential. But in today’s fast-paced and demanding work environment, mental health problems are becoming increasingly prevalent.

A recently published, longitudinal study shows that work stress is predictive of new cases of depression and general anxiety disorder, and this is backed up by the Health & Safety Executive, who report that prolonged work-related stress can lead to both physical and psychological damage, as well as aggravate pre-existing mental health conditions. And, according to data from McKinsey, up to one in four employees worldwide is experiencing symptoms of burnout due to stress, making them six times more likely to leave their jobs.

Yet, mental health is still considered a taboo topic in many workplaces. So, how can you best support workplace wellbeing and improve your employee’s mental health in the workplace?

In this article, I’ll explore some of the reasons why mental health in the workplace should no longer be ignored, and how companies can support their employees – in particular, their top performing talent – in this crucial aspect of their lives, and ultimately increase engagement, productivity, performance, and success of the entire team.


The Impact of Mental Health on the Workplace

Studies have shown that, unsurprisingly, mental health issues lead to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, increased presenteeism (where an individual is physically present at work but underperforming due to their mental health issues) and higher healthcare costs for companies. Plus, there’s an additional knock-on effect from an individual to the whole team (who often have to shoulder additional workloads), adversely impacting their morale, motivation, productivity, and overall performance. And this is aside from the potential litigation and reputational damage that can be wreaked.

On the other hand, a supportive work environment that prioritises mental well-being can result in increased employee morale, reduced stress, and higher job satisfaction and engagement. Moreover, companies that invest in mental health initiatives have reported improved financial performance and a competitive advantage over their peers.


BLOG graphics 12
Companies that have initiated wellness programs are seeing positive returns. Harvard researchers report a 6-to-1 return on investment for every dollar spent on employee wellness.

Breaking the Stigma Around Mental Health

Yet, despite its importance, mental health continues to be a taboo topic in many workplaces. And the stigma and negative judgement surrounding mental health prevents many employees from seeking help and support at the point they need it most. In fact – and I speak both from personal and professional experience here – top performers aren’t the type of people to admit to anyone, let alone themselves, they’re not coping until it’s too late. Instead, they push through stress and burnout – often resorting to unhealthy ‘coping’ behaviours, such as drinking, drugs, overeating, or gambling – until they break, along with their relationships, their health, and their life.

This, of course, is not ideal. Not least because top performers contribute the lion’s share to a company’s bottom line. According to Laszlo Bock, the former SVP of People Operations at Google, Inc, “90% of the value on your teams comes from the top performing 10%”. And a McKinsey study reports that a top performer is 400% more productive than an average performer – and anything up to 800% for more complex occupations (such as software development and management).

So, it’s imperative that companies work towards creating a safe environment and culture of wellbeing and open communication. One in which employees are equipped with the appropriate resources and skills to proactively manage their stress and mental health effectively. And one in which they feel comfortable and safe discussing their mental health and seeking support.


Avoid the ‘Tick Box’ Trap 

Before investing in wellbeing programs that cost $$$s, it’s important to get the basics right. With the best will in the world, if workplace wellbeing is simply offered as a tick-box exercise, without strategic consideration of the needs of the employees and without creating a culture in which mental health can flourish, then a lot of time, money, and effort will be wasted.

Research from McKinsey shows that, “when asked about aspects of their jobs that undermine their mental health and well-being, employees frequently cite the feeling of always being on call, unfair treatment, unreasonable workload, low autonomy, and lack of social support. Those are not challenges likely to be reversed with wellness programs. In fact, decades of research suggest that interventions targeting only individuals are far less likely to have a sustainable impact on employee health than systemic solutions, including organizational-level interventions.

In other words, a company can’t ‘mindfulness’ or ‘fresh fruit platter’ it’s way out of the systemic imbalances in a company’s culture. Change needs to start from the top and filter its way down to the bottom. And this might include changes to organisational systems, processes, policies, resources, job expectations, team environments, and more.

Additionally, don’t underestimate the extent to which leaders can directly impact the performance and wellbeing of a company. Leaders must set a good example and be role models for the rest of the organisation.


9 Ways To Support Employee Mental Health in the Workplace

All that said, when considering a wellbeing strategy, here are 9 simple and effective ways to support employees with their wellbeing and mental health in the workplace:


1.Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)

These commonly implemented programs provide employees with access to mental health resources and support, including counselling services and support groups.

Unfortunately, many EAPs are under-utilised, and current data indicates that top performers, in particular, are unwilling to utilise EAPs for fear of lack of confidentiality, fear of professional consequences, fear of judgment, and/or, ultimately, fear of reaching out for help.

Rather, top performers are far more likely to work with a private therapist or counsellor who has no affiliation with the company and where confidentiality is assured. It’s for this reason that I often sit inside a company as an external ‘in-house’ service – I’m visible, accessible, and part of the culture, but not on the company’s payroll, and therefore more trusted (and more utilised!). Think Wendy Rhoades from Billions – but without the colourful personal life!


As Kate Bailey, Founder and Managing Director says, “I have used Marcelle over the last couple of years and I am always amazed at the impact she makes in such a short space of time. The support of Marcelle is open to all staff and everyone who has used Marcelle has benefited enormously – both at an immediate level but equally as important Marcelle has given them the tools to handle future situations/emotions.”


2.Flexible Work Schedules

Allowing employees to have flexible work schedules can help to reduce stress, improve overall mental well-being, and increase productivity. And, whilst many larger companies are pushing for employees to be back in the office – part-time, if not full-time – according to latest research, 73% of employees want flexible work options to remain post covid.

Flexible arrangement to consider might include (but are not limited to):

  • Flexible work times
  • Remote/Hybrid working options
  • Part-time employment options
  • Shared employment options
  • Additional holiday allowance as a paid benefit
  • Sabbaticals


3.Employee Wellness Programs/Apps

Many companies provide employees with opportunities to engage in physical activity, mindfulness practices, and other wellness activities, including ‘wellness days/weeks’.

Whilst these can help to improve mental health, and the majority of employees and top performers are more likely to engage with initiatives of this type, it’s important that these programs don’t simply become ‘lip service’. Progress needs to be tracked and monitored, along with follow-ups to ensure that best practice is being adhered to, and change is being effected long term.


4.Mental Health Training

Now more than ever, companies need to be prioritising proactive and preventive workplace mental health training for leaders, managers, and individuals.

As more and more employees struggle with their mental health, it’s important to provide targeted mental health training to help shift the perception of mental health, quash common myths, reduce stigma, eliminate discriminatory behaviours, enable open and honest conversations about mental health in the workplace, and equip individuals with the resources and skills necessary to proactively manage their stress and mental health effectively.

Click here for more details on mental health training, workshops, and services.


BLOG graphics 13



Coaching, and in particular, High Performance Coaching, is an extremely powerful tool for enabling individuals and teams to achieve high performance AND well-being, not just professionally, but also personally.

High Performance Coaching, unlike other types of coaching, shifts the paradigm of success from a person’s traits, talents and experience to the effective high performance habits, practices, and mindset that drive consistent long-term results without compromising mental health, quality of life or burning out. In other words, high performance is a skill that can be taught and learned, and is the key to long term success, both for top performers and the company.

Click here for more details about High Performance Coaching.


6.Encourage breaks and physical activity

Most of us rarely move from our desks for hours at time. Simply encouraging individuals to get up and move about regularly can be extremely beneficial for mental wellbeing.

Many companies with office based employees organise morning or lunchtime walks. This ensures that your employees are moving and getting exercise, and also additionally getting a healthy dose of fresh air and ‘social connectedness’, both important for maintaining good mental health and positive wellbeing.

It can also be helpful to have a policy in place whereby meetings are not scheduled back to back in the diary, allowing individuals to have a 5-minute break between meetings to move or stretch.


7.Mental Health Days (aka ‘Duvet Days’)

Allowing employees to take time off for their mental health can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being.

However, due to the stigma surrounding mental health, it’s unlikely that top performers will admit to taking a ‘mental health’ day; they may instead book out the time as a ‘client meeting’. But however this is managed within the team, it can be a good idea to encourage the odd ‘duvet day’ (within reason, of course!).


8.Set Boundaries

In terms of boundaries, it’s important to set and communicate clear priorities, goals, and expectations for all employees, with continuous feedback. Additionally, it can be helpful to set boundaries around how to facilitate an inclusive culture – one in which people feel safe to speak up and share feedback without fear of ridicule, embarrassment, or prejudice. Other boundary considerations might include open-door policies, behaviours in the workplace, mental health days (see 7 above), and so on.

Boundaries are fundamental to living a happy and healthy life, and achieving a better work-life balance. They help to protect our time, energy, and resources, and allow us to do our most productive work without feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or burning out. They also help us to create routines and habits, which increase our productivity and focus, reduce stress and overwhelm, and help us to feel more in control of ourselves and our lives.


9.Foster Open Communication

Creating a trusting and respectful culture and encouraging open, honest, and vulnerable communication about mental health can help employees to feel supported and less isolated and ‘stigmatised’. Normalising mental health and having conversations is how we start removing some of the stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace.


BLOG graphics 14


These are just 9 ways in which you can better support and improve your employee’s mental health in the workplace. What other policies or procedures do you have in place? Get in touch – I’d love to know.


In conclusion, mental health should no longer be considered a taboo topic in the workplace. The benefits of good mental health for an individual, the wider team, and the company as a whole, cannot be overstated and it is important for organisations to prioritise this aspect of employee well-being.

Companies have a responsibility and duty of care to support their employees’ mental health and create a safe and supportive work environment. By investing in mental health initiatives and breaking the stigma surrounding mental health, companies can improve employee morale, reduce stress, and ultimately create a positive and supportive work environment that benefits both the employees and the bottom line.



Dr Marcelle Crinean, PhD is a highly respected Clinical Hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist, Mindset Coach & Certified High Performance Coach™. Marcelle focuses on helping driven, ambitious high-achievers perform at their highest level and accelerate extraordinary success in all areas of their work and life – without compromising their health, relationships or happiness. She offers high performance coaching and stress-management & wellbeing training to individuals and companies all over the world. In her capacity as founder and owner of Brain Reframe, she also mentors small businesses and offers courses and workshops in overcoming imposter syndrome and avoiding burnout.

Related Posts