When it comes to promoting mental health in the workplace, the focus is often on conventional measures like flexible work hours, wellness programs, or employee assistance programs. While these initiatives undoubtedly play a significant role, it’s important to acknowledge the unexpected factors that can have a profound impact on employees’ mental well-being.
These often-overlooked acts and gestures may seem small, but their positive effects can be truly transformative. So, let’s explore some unexpected things that have helped improve some of our crew’s mental health while at Alloy, straight from the source.
Thoughtfully Creating an Open & Inclusive Environment
Our employees have so much intentionality and openness around mental health which eliminates so much of the related, historical stigma. Being on a video chat and someone asking, “How are you doing? And following up the surface-level response, “I’m ok,” with another question, “Ok, so how are you really doing?” makes such a difference in allowing permission for the other person to go beyond the tip of the iceberg and to be heard about what is really going on in their life. Creating spaces to go deeper and to be more supportive of one another is vital to our humanity.
Taking it a step further, it’s also freeing when colleagues are open about going to a therapy appointment or taking their child to one. It signals to others that mental health is a priority and it’s ok to talk about it. It’s also encouraging to others who may have never considered seeking extra support through therapy, or maybe have considered, but not taken the next steps to get help.
Creating a Supportive Environment for Neurodiversity
I openly struggle with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and as our all-things-medical-tech savvy team knows, there’s been a huge shortage in medication that helps with it. The Alloy crew makes it a priority to ask about everyone’s bandwidth and how you’re doing before they even think about asking you to work on a task, and though they might not realize it, it creates a comfortable environment to be open about not having medication at the moment, feeling overwhelmed, or asking for help. Although it might not seem like a big thing, it helps me advocate for myself and my mental health every day.
Celebrating Our Authentic Selves
One of the things I love most about Alloy is the way we celebrate the things our coworkers are excited about – even when they don’t have a direct connection with the work we do on a day-to-day basis. The round-robin questions we do in our all-team weekly huddles open up discussions about common interests that often turn into side conversations where I get to know more about someone I don’t typically work closely with.
Our monthly game hour, movie club and book club create ways for people to participate in group activities that are more about getting to know each other than just doing client work together. I think every one of those interactions builds to create an environment where we aren’t afraid to be vulnerable with each other. When those barriers come down, not only does it become a much more enjoyable work environment, but it also gets easier to ask the right questions and do the best work together.
Flexibility and Autonomy
Erika Scholz Van
Despite the major uptick in working from home over the past few years, I’ve found that having access to an office space has had a huge impact on my mental health.
There are days when having a physical boundary between my home and my work environment really helps me maintain balance, especially Tuesday through Thursday. On top of that, being able to see my coworkers in person also helps me feel more connected and positive.
Giving employees a certain level of autonomy and flexibility can work wonders for their mental health. Empowering individuals to make decisions, allowing them to have a say in their work processes, and offering flexible schedules can reduce stress levels and increase job satisfaction. By promoting autonomy, employers demonstrate trust and confidence in their employees, resulting in improved well-being and productivity. After all, we’re all professionals here. Let’s be treated as such.
While any effort to recognize and address workplace mental health is undoubtedly important, it’s crucial not to overlook the unexpected factors that can have a significant impact on employees’ well-being. Openness and autonomy can create an environment whereby people actually want to wake up to go to each day. By implementing these gestures, employers and coworkers can contribute to a positive work atmosphere and enhance the overall well-being of everyone in the organization. Remember, sometimes it’s the unexpected things that make the biggest difference.
Interested in being a part of this Uncommon Crew? Check out our open positions and apply today.