How to Create a Positive Mental Health Environment in the Workplace
Previously, we examined the employer’s role in work-life balance for their employees, but we don’t want to stop there. We want to take it one step further to an individual level and look at someone who often lets their own needs fall to the wayside: the business owner themselves.
When it comes to starting a business, there is often a long list of driving factors that compel an individual to decide to take the initial leap. Whether it’s the opportunity to be their own boss, choose their own hours, build their own team, or follow a personal passion and the desire to share it others, the reasons for starting often become an excuse to let self-care slide.
The client or customer comes first, employees second, and then, if there is time left over, the business owner may take a few minutes to rest or attend to family matters. It’s time to break this pattern and acknowledge that taking care of yourself is not selfish, but crucial to the success of your business.
As the head of the company, all eyes are on you to set the bar for performance and expectations. Mental illness hits small business owners hard when the reality and stress of their industry sets in. The lines between work and life can be particularly blurry when your bottom line affects your life outside the office.
As a business owner, it’s important to ensure that the environment you create is one that speaks to the ideal community you want your workplace to reflect. Does the company culture echo the values you have outside of work? Is it an open space filled with people you trust to get any job done in a timely and efficient manner?
Mental health awareness starts with you. If your employees never see you practice or participate in things you deem to be important, why would they? Company culture is built up of the expectations and tone you set for your employees, including the company vision, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, beliefs, and habits.
You have the power to design an atmosphere that people want to work in and gravitate toward. When you create that space based on your own values, the likelihood for positive effects on mental health increases because your work space becomes comfortable, no matter the potential stress looming around.
We’ve already documented the benefits of exercise on your mental health, but it doesn’t have to stop at hitting the gym or taking a yoga class. In fact, a study conducted at Stanford University found that getting out and taking a walk in nature specifically – not just walking down the street from your office – can decrease negative thoughts and emotions.
Making physical activity an integral part of your company culture, even if it just means organizing a team building hike once per month, can go a long way towards improving the mental health in your workplace. Right here in Santa Clarita we have 18 hiking trails and 5 bike trails, which can be found on the Hike Santa Clarita website and app.
To learn more about the benefits of moving your business to the Santa Clarita Valley:
The Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation (SCVEDC) is a unique private / public partnership representing the united effort of regional industry and government leaders. The SCVEDC utilizes an integrated approach to attracting, retaining and expanding a diversity of businesses in the Santa Clarita Valley, especially those in key industry clusters, by offering competitive business services and other resources.