We probably don’t need to tell you that May is Mental Health Awareness month because it’s all over the news and on social media. Instead, we want to focus on helping you discover a few simple planning strategies that can help you reduce stress and anxiety at work so you can feel your best. In addition, helping your team to do the same can transform your company culture.

Why addressing mental health and wellness at work is important

The workplace landscape was already changing prior to 2020 but the pandemic sped the process along. Employees are no longer looking for a job that simply pays the bills. They want to work for businesses that have a company culture that aligns with their personal values. One study found employees find mental health and wellness to be a very important benefit at work.

“Leave your problems at the door” is no longer the standard expectation at work. Employees want employers to help support them professionally and personally. Finding ways to embrace this idea now will help you stay competitive when looking to hire.

But prioritizing mental health in the workplace isn’t only good for the employee on a personal level. Supporting employee mental health can also lead to improved productivity and fewer missed days of work. It’s good for your bottom line as well.

How proper planning supports mental wellness

If you listen to people—across all industries—you’re likely to hear a common thread weaved throughout conversations; people feel burnt out this year. They are tired. They are overwhelmed. They’re lacking the motivation they used to feel for their jobs. Expecting people, including yourself, to just push through, isn’t going to work. Changes need to be made.

A 2019 Harvard Business Review article shares a different perspective on the problem; the problem isn’t your employees, it’s how your company is running. The article shares that a Gallup survey identified the top five reasons for burnout as:

  • Unfair treatment
  • Unmanageable workload
  • Lack of role clarity
  • Lack of management communication and support
  • Unreasonable time pressure

Proper planning and the right systems can help transform these areas within a company. Here are some things you can do to address help reduce burnout for yourself and your team.

1. Make sure workloads are realistic

Since the start of the Great Resignation, many employees have been forced to add more tasks to their schedules. But while the pandemic may have been unprecedented, this situation is not. The exact same thing happened back in 2008 with the Great Recession. These situations are unfortunate in business, but shouldn’t be used as an excuse to pile unrealistic workloads on your employees (or yourself.)

It may be time to lower the bar and pivot to embrace realistic expectations. If you or your staff is overloaded right now, work on prioritizing tasks. Let yourself and your team know and accept that some things might not be achieved at the same pace they were previously. Help your employees by communicating what the priorities are and that you don’t expect them to accomplish more than they can reasonably do within their scheduled time.

Make yourself available to your team so they can come to you if they are struggling to accomplish their tasks. Work together with your staff to find the best solutions for the current circumstances.

2. Provide employees with the resources they need to succeed

It’s crucial that you set your employees up for success. Make sure when you delegate a task to someone that you also delegate access to the resources they need to accomplish the tasks. If they constantly have to run back to you for approval or to get more information from you, you’re only creating more work for both of you.

Train yourself and your employees to look at their tasks and identify what the needs are to accomplish them, and then take the steps to make that readily available to people.

3. Check in with 15-minute meetings

15-minute meetings create necessary opportunities for supervisors and employees to communicate needs and expectations. These short meetings are designed to be fast and productive so you can spend time on the things that are most important. During these meetings, your employee will update you on the progress they’re making toward their goals, what six tasks they are focused on last week and the status of each one, the six goals they have for the current week and what they need in order to succeed.

You can learn more about 15-minute meetings here.

4. Use a system to track tasks and progress toward goals

Having a system in place to help you and your team track your tasks and goals can help reduce stress and anxiety while increasing productivity levels. There are many task management systems, software, and apps you can choose from. We encourage you to choose something that will grow with your team, allows you to align your tasks with your goals, and helps you keep your to-do list manageable. If you want to see how the SPEARity app can help you accomplish these things, schedule a demo today.

A final thought

Remember that employees need to see you model the behavior you expect from them. If you work all hours of the day, send emails at midnight, and burn out because you don’t have realistic expectations, they are going to follow in line. Don’t forget to prioritize your own health and wellness. Your business and your team will benefit from it.