The Impact of Mental Health on Making Money

Sound mental health aids in company growth. Employees are more attentive, creative, and able to focus and work together toward goals.

When we want to grow our company, we look at all factors — cost of materials, facility costs, shipping, employee wages, and on and on. However, one commonly overlooked measurement is the mental health of ourselves and our team.
While mental health is a societal conversation, it’s not as common to talk about how mental health affects your company’s health and profits. (Fortunately, you stumbled upon this article and will have one more advantage over your competitors!)
Sound mental health aids in company growth. Employees are more attentive, creative, and able to focus and work together toward goals.
Poor mental health leads to decreased concentration and memory, sleep issues, irritability, reduced creativity, and other factors negatively impacting workplace culture, product quality, output, and profitability.
If you’re like me, in our defense, we’ve tried to improve worker contentment through things like improved benefits or flexible schedules. While these benefits help, we need to look at mental health more holistically if we want to have a measurable impact.
So, let’s dig in and see what can help us.

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to diagnose or treat serious mental health issues. If you or anyone on your team has symptoms of a mental illness or suicidal thoughts, seek help from a qualified mental health professional.

Changes in Work Culture Start at the Top

It’s necessary to start by thinking about your mental health and how you act. After all, employees’ most common workplace complaints are about their bosses.

Changing your habits may be more challenging than outfitting a fancy break room, but it will positively impact your workers and yourself.

Start with Yourself

We’ve heard, “happy parents make happy kids.” The same is true of any relationship between authority figures and their charges. Your employees could have amazing salaries and unlimited time off, but if you come into the office drained, disorganized, and snappy day after day, the whole office will suffer. So, take care of your mental health. Your well-being is not of secondary importance. 
Here are some areas to evaluate your traits and behaviors toward your employees.

Mind Your Attitude

If you expect your employees to control their emotions because they affect everyone around them, you must also do so. Whether you want to or not, you set the tone that constructs or corrodes culture.

Respect Time

If you don’t want employees wasting your time, evaluate if you’re wasting theirs through ineffective communication or processes. If you can buy a machine that saves them time, you’ve shown that their time matters, and you increase their productivity.

Plan Realistically

A failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on their part. For example, don’t always expect your employees to work late because you mismanaged something.

Own Your Mistakes

If you expect apologies from others, be willing to offer them as well. Take ownership of your mistakes and make up with others. Don’t blame your employees or make them clean up your messes.

Set the Tone

Social expectations also apply to you. You don’t get a free pass to have no filter because your employees fear contradicting you. Speak to others with the courtesy you expect for yourself and your customers.

Model Trust

Treat employees like trustworthy adults, not naughty children who need babysitting. Instead of pacing behind their workspace, establish expectations and accountability, then empower them with the flexibility to achieve them. If they routinely miss the mark, provide training and speak with them privately and honestly about their options.

Give Choices

People feel better when they have a measure of control. Who can maintain good mental health when they have no say? Seek employee feedback on their goals, training opportunities, and improvements they need at work. Be honest with what you can and can’t do, then follow through. Otherwise, your employees will feel like you’re paying lip service and feel worse for being ignored.

Listen More

When people say, “We need better communication,” they almost always mean they need a listening ear. Instead of adding more corporate talking points, try asking questions and letting your employees do the talking. Being the quiet one is a powerful tool for communication. People are far more likely to listen to you when they feel heard.

Respect Employees

Treat employees like people, not servants. They agreed to do a certain job for you at certain times, with certain limits. If you routinely ignore those limits, you disrespect them, lose their trust, and introduce doubt as to whether they should be there.

Be a Real Person

Plan fun events where you talk about more than work. Show them you care about them as people, not just labor. But do so during working hours rather than making employees give up personal time. Let them get to know you so they can empathize with you, too. Employees will go above and beyond for someone who’s real with them and shares in their worries.

What You Can Do for Your Employees

Employees like to know that their boss spends time thinking about what would make their lives better. Nothing says, “You don’t matter,” like a broken toilet and rusted coffee maker.

But you can do better than working toilets and baskets of treats in the break room. Here are some things you can offer employees that will make them happier and more loyal!

Flexible Schedules

Some roles can incorporate flexibility more easily than others. But with some planning and creativity, even jobs that require a person to be in a set place at a specific time can have some flexibility. Consider cross-training, shift backups, or adaptable maintenance schedules.

Flexible Environments

Some people thrive when working in groups. Others thrive when working in quieter environments or from home. There is no one answer. Offer a mix and avoid implying that some employees are better than others for having specific preferences.

Worthy Raises

Great companies routinely evaluate employee workplace wages and factor in cost of living adjustments to keep their pay fair. Some employers also offer flat or percentage-based bonuses on sales or company-wide performance.

Give Recognition

Employees like to feel valued as a person. Wages are part of this, but checks alone don’t earn loyalty. Loyalty is earned person-to-person. Unfortunately, people often only hear about their work when there’s something wrong, but positive reinforcement is far more motivating. Recognize and praise the good parts of your employee’s work twice as much as you offer suggestions for improvement.

Hire the Right People

Hiring cheap and inexperienced labor means making other employees deal with the constant turnover and training. This siphons off energy from your entire company. Take your time to find the right person for a job, and when possible, let employees impacted by this role have input, too.

Provide Training

Your best employees want to learn and improve continually. If you don’t offer them learning opportunities, they’ll find it elsewhere. When you do, they’ll view you as a partner in their personal and professional improvement and want to return the goodwill.

Encourage Balance

When you model and encourage the attitude that work is just one part of life and that family, health, fun, and dreams are important, too, your employees are less likely to get burned out and more likely to give their all when at work.

Bonus —

Address Mental Health Individually

Small, genuine gestures that show you understand and care about each team member go a long way in loyalty and productivity. Remember the details – a gluten-free snack for the celiac team member, a better-fitting chair for your petite team member, and noise-canceling headphones for the one with ADHD. Find out what makes each employee’s day better, and do what you can to uplift them! 

Your Next Steps

Start small. Make a few changes. Some will have a dramatic impact, while others may seem unnoticed. Then, once a quarter, return to this article and evaluate how you’re doing and what you can implement next. What else can you do to shape a behavior and culture that uplifts your and your employees’ mental health in a way that contributes to a healthy and profitable company?
About the Author

Jason Otis is the president of Perk Brands and founder of Built for Home. Perk Brands is a digital marketing agency that partners with home product manufacturers to make their products easy to find and buy. Built for Home is a community of home product manufacturers and a resource for buyers to find products that make their lives better at home.


Related Articles