4 ways employers can support mental health
I began my Reward Gateway journey about one year ago. I was inspired by Reward Gateway’s mission to make the world a better place to work and excited to learn about a new industry and working with new people.
Then, just a few weeks after starting a new role in a new company, COVID-19 started to escalate, and we switched to a remote working environment.
Like a lot of people, I felt anxious about how things would unfold. As the year progressed and lockdown started to feel like groundhog day, I fell into a bit of hazy depression.
"After navigating challenges with my mental health over the last year, I can safely say that the ongoing meaningful discussion around employee wellbeing really made me feel supported."
While providing an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) is wonderful and letting your people know that you are available to chat is important, creating a psychologically-safe environment that allows your people to speak up and have vulnerable conversations about support they may need is essential. Reflecting on the support I received from Reward Gateway and my colleagues last year, I am so grateful. I hope these examples of how I was supported can help you help your people feel more mentally healthy.
|1. Lead the conversation|
|2. Establish a Wellbeing Allowance|
|3. Provide easy, on-the-go access to wellbeing resources|
|4. Cultivate a culture of gratitude and appreciation|
Hey leaders, lead the conversation!
I found the most memorable – and impactful – channel of support to be authentic and transparent communication from different parts of the business. From video content to managers checking in on everyone in meetings – I really appreciated being updated, not just about what was happening across the business (although that was really important and provided a sense of security and stability when a lot of people really needed it), but the ongoing conversation around the importance of mental health.
My favourite Reward Gateway value is ‘Be Human’ and I saw how our Leadership Team embodied that value by advocating for people to take care of themselves and also ensure that they speak up when they need support.
Establish a Wellbeing Allowance
One really practical way that Reward Gateway demonstrates its commitment to employee wellbeing is through our quarterly Wellbeing Allowance. Employees get a window every quarter where we can access finances that can be spent toward enriching our mental, physical or financial health.
"I love that we can spend it at our discretion, because wellbeing looks different for everyone."
I used the Wellbeing Allowance to help pay for fitness classes, which was amazing to get back into after Melbourne’s long lockdown lifted.
Provide easy, on-the-go access to wellbeing resources
Our employee engagement platform, also contains a Wellbeing Centre, a great resource that contains meditation courses, recipes from HelloFresh, expert financial advice and premium ClassPass fitness classes. This was such a practical way of staying healthy while staying inside. I found the on-demand meditation sessions a great way to start my day!
We have a few more amazing benefits like access to a wellbeing coach – something that would normally cost a fair bit of money but is provided so employees can work through specific health, career or personal challenges and goals. And one thing I’m keen to take advantage of is Reward Gateway’s Book Benefit, which allows employees to expense one fiction book per month (we even have a channel employees are encouraged to share their recent reads), as well as books that will support our professional development and growth in Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI).
Cultivate a culture of gratitude
"All the things above definitely helped support my mental health (and my colleagues’) on an ongoing basis, but it was ultimately the culture of recognition and gratitude that made me feel connected to the wider team."
In a time where reading the news felt a bit apocalyptic, opening a browser window and clicking into our social recognition feed and reading how people were supporting each other made me feel more connected to the wider organisation. Receiving recognition is a welcome dopamine hit, but giving it has a positive impact too – gratitude can have a positive impact on quality of life and emotional wellbeing. For me, it shifted the focus away from pandemic doom and gloom to the small (and big!) achievements that people were working on every single day.
That connection to a bigger purpose and my wider company alleviated some of the isolation that came with being stuck at home, behind a computer for weeks on end.
As we see the impact of mental health on productivity and employee engagement we are seeing more organisations bolster the support they provide their people to stay healthy and prioritise their own self-care.
Without doubt, the wellbeing support services that Reward Gateway offered me made a real impact on my mental health.
I feel more connected to our mission than ever, and hope sharing my experience helps you make your part of the world a better place to work.
Looking for more affordable ways to support, recognise and connect your employees? Sign up for a 1-month free trial of Reward gateway for Small Business and we’ll show you how we can help your company with affordable benefits.