Personal Development Discussion: “Workplace Mental Health”

Each Monday, the Martin Sunday Lighting Design team has a team meeting, though we begin these meetings a little bit different than the average company team meeting. We start with a group Meditation session lead by one of our team leaders, we “Check In” with each other, then we’re led in a Personal Development Teaching Piece where a designated team member teaches the team something new that they’ve benefitted from either in their personal or professional life. You can learn more about this by reading What Sets Our Team Apart.

This week, it was Tiarra’s turn to lead the Personal Development Teaching Piece and she chose an article found on Kenjo Blog titled 10 Tips for Taking Care of Your Employee’s Mental Health. Feel free to take a moment to read over this article before diving into our discussion below.

Team Discussion

Tiarra started off by saying, “I think this topic is very important, especially with us having a lot more business and taking on more jobs. It’s important to be able to understand that we all handle stress differently and that the mental health of each employee is important. Even though someone may not look stressed or project it like someone else may, we are all feeling it and we’re all in the same space. Mental health is important both in and outside of work.

As a team, we took turns reading over parts of the article aloud. Below you will find the 10 tips that are promoted in Kenjo Blog‘s article. You can find more information on each of these tips by clicking here to read the full article.

Kenjo Blog‘s 10 Tips For Taking Care of Your Employee’s Mental Health:

  1. Send out employee satisfaction surveys
  2. Work on communication and expectations
  3. Monitor each employee
  4. Set boundaries between work and home 
  5. Encourage breaks and active rest
  6. Offer private health insurance
  7. Guarantee a pleasant, safe working environment 
  8. Encourage positive conduct
  9. Normalize mental health care
  10. Encourage healthy living habits

As a team, we discussed which of the above we are already implementing in our office, and which ones that we should consider adding to better support the mental health of each employee of our company.

We all agreed that, as a company, we are already doing the following: 2. Work on communication and expectations, 3. Monitor each employee, 4. Set boundaries between work and home, 5. Encourage breaks and active rest, 7. Guarantee a pleasant, safe working environment, 8. Encourage positive conduct, 9. Normalize mental health care and 10. Encourage healthy living habits.

Number 2 is part of our Company Values that we practice on a daily basis. Stathis, our Chief Operating Officer, does an excellent job of monitoring each employee and encouraging everyone to set boundaries between work and home. We also do this by discouraging team members from working on projects at home, after hours. Martin has set wonderful expectations for each employee at the time of their hiring that this is a safe, positive working environment. We all play a part in normalizing mental health care as we begin each weekly team meeting by “checking in” with the team on how we are feeling heading into the new week. And lastly, both myself and Stathis are always striving to encourage healthy living habits such as getting enough sleep, engaging in daily exercise and eating fresh, healthy foods as we understand the correlation between these activities and positive mental wellbeing.

As for the ones we aren’t currently implementing, 1. Send out employee satisfaction surveys and 6. Offer private health insurance, we will begin searching for ways to implement these into our office policies in the near future.

After this discussion, I chimed in to talk a little further about 9. Normalize mental healthcare as the article goes on to say, “Also, internally, you can take measures to combat the stigma and prejudice associated with these topics by promoting open conversations or organizing health and wellbeing days”. My partner works for a company that strongly promotes this by having quarterly mental health days that they call “Recharge Days“. When the global pandemic first hit and the lockdown occurred, his company began implementing their Recharge Days once per month where the entire company has to take the day off as a way to promote rest and relaxation. Now that the lockdown is no longer occurring, they have changed their schedule to have these mental health days once per quarter, though I’ve always found this incredible as I’ve never heard of a company doing something like this before.

Stathis added to this by saying, “when you do these kinds of things for your employees, people appreciate it and their job satisfaction is higher. But when companies say, ‘well we just can’t afford that’, their employees can end up frying their noodle, taking additional sick days due to emotional distress or even quitting the company“.

Each Team Member’s Personal Thoughts On This Teaching Piece

We’ll end our discussion today by taking a moment to share each team member’s personal thoughts on this teaching piece; what it meant to them, what they took away from it or how they plan to utilize the information moving forward. You can learn more about each team member by visiting our Meet the Team page

Bailey Reber

Mental health is extremely important to me – I mean, I host a podcast devoted to promoting mental health awareness. I really appreciate this as a workplace topic because most of my past places of employment tended to ignore mental health and wellbeing of their employees. Its really refreshing to be part of a company that cares for their employees and wants to do whatever it can to promote wellbeing for the team and for each individual who is apart of it.

Martin Sunday

This discussion has opened my eyes to the idea of finding a way to include mental health training into our office. I also like the idea of sending out a monthly Mental Health Newsletter via email to all employees to help continue to promote and encourage conversations around mental health. Sending out an employee satisfaction survey is a great idea and something that I will look into implementing as a way to help monitor the wellbeing of employees.

Stathis Kafoglis

It is important to be able to be vulnerable and let others know when you are not okay. It is a reminder to me the importance of being transparent about my mental state! I think that having an employee satisfaction survey would be a great way to check in with employee mindset/mental state. Also, I really like the idea of having company Mental Health Days as they would be a great opportunity to allow our employees to reset.

Tiarra Whitaker

I think this topic is very important, especially with COVID-19 having slowed things down for awhile, yet now the work is starting to steadily pick back up. I think it is important to be aware that everyone handles stress differently and its important to understand that mental health is important. People may not vocalize that they are stressed and its important to find ways to recognize this in each other.

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Hungry for more? Be sure to check out these previous Personal Development Team Teaching to indulge in more personal growth teachings.

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