Whether you manage a team of casual workers, part-time staff, or salaried employees, if you want your workplace to thrive, you must prioritise your team’s mental health.
After all, many hourly workers have a lot on their plate. They might be stocking shelves at your store in the evening, studying for their degree, caring for their family, or even working another job.
Providing resources and support around mental health will not only help your employees, you’ll likely see retention and engagement rising.
Read on for 20 practical ways to support the mental well-being of your hourly workers.
1. Educate yourself about best practices
According to the Mental Health Foundation, nearly 1 in 4 people in the UK will experience some form of mental illness each year. This means that around 14.5 million people in the UK will experience a mental health problem in any given year.
In 2017 the government commissioned Lord Stevenson and Paul Farmer (Chief Executive of Mind) to produce the “Thriving at Work” report, which sets out a framework of actions and core standards that employers should have in place to support their workers’ mental health.
2. Implement flexible scheduling
A recent survey of more than 1,400 shift workers shows that flexible work schedules are the top perk of hourly work.Offer flexibility in work schedules to help employees balance their work and personal lives. This can reduce burnout and allow for more time to rest and recharge.
3. Make mental health training a priority
You host training to learn how toclock in and out of work, but do you have training about mental health in the workplace?
Invest in mental health training for everyone in your business. And look for common signs that someone on your team might need help. For example, a high level of distraction, unusual tardiness, or a personality change could signal that you need to converse with your employee. You never know how they’re feeling until you talk to them.
Just as your managers receive training in first aid or harassment, they should also be trained in handling mental health issues. Coordinate with an external agency to provide comprehensive training for your team. And to make it even more effective, consider making this an annual mandatory training.
4. Develop a positive work environment
Tensions run high when business is booming — or you’re struggling to make ends meet. As a manager, you’re likely pulled in multiple directions. But remember that your employees look to you to set the tone of the workplace. Focus on feedback and communication to ensure your company culture creates a positive work environment.
5. Start a conversation
If you half-heartedly ask your staff how they’re doing — or worse, you don’t ask at all — you’re missing out on a meaningful way to ensure the mental health of your employees.
Transparency andcommunication are crucial to helping your employees with mental health issues. Consult your HR team or other professional resources for help if you're worried about what to say.
6. Focus on your employee
Your employees are the heart of your business. As a manager, it’s your job to support them. It’s easy to avoid conversations if it makes you feel more comfortable, but is that best for your employee? Keep the focus on your employee — what resources do they need, who do they need to talk to, and what can you do to make them feel supported?
7. Listen and take action
If an hourly employee has trusted and confided in you about their mental health issues, you must show that you understand by listening to learn. After you have listened, assure them that your number one priority is their well-being. Even if you received training and your hourly employee told you what they needed, you might need more time to get the answers. That’s ok! Let your employee know that you’ll get back to them with a plan of action.
8. Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Consider offering an EAP that provides access to professional counselling services for employees and their families. EAPs can offer confidential support for a range of personal and work-related issues.
9. De-stigmatise mental health conversations
While some of your staff may already seek professional help, others may be battling internally alone. De-stigmatize mental health conversations by providing training not only to your managers but also to your staff. That training can help your hourly employees identify signs and symptoms of mental health issues while building a culture that emphasises the importance of mental health just as much as physical health.
10. Promote Work-Life Balance
Enable your staff toswap shifts and choose preferred working days/times to help them maintain a healthy work-life balance. When your team take their lunch breaks, encourage them to do something for themselves. Go for a walk, read a book, or check in on their other responsibilities outside of work. Try afree trial of Deputy for an easy way to schedule in line with your team’s preferences, plan regular breaks, and swap shifts with a few clicks.
11. Keep your hourly employees informed
Your team might be in different places at different times. But use all-hands meetings or yourcommunication app to share regular updates or resources related to mental health and all aspects of health and safety in the workplace. Use this opportunity to reinforce your company policies and who to talk to if anyone is experiencing difficulties.
12. Bring in an advisor
Depending on the size of your business, you can have someone on staff full-time who specialises in employee mental health. However, most small teams don’t have the resourcing for a full-time specialist. Instead, you can still make resources available to your staff. For example, you could arrange a lunch-and-learn session for your hourly employees.
13. Assess your current policies
Where are your current policies — and are they working? Create a task force to survey your team and review your employees’ engagement, happiness, and well-being. Ask questions about whether your employees feel supported by management, if staff have the resources they need, and if your team feels the company is doing their best to encourage employee wellbeing. Don’t forget to ask open-ended questions, which enable your hourly employees to give quality feedback.
14. Implement a zero-tolerance policy for bullying
Your business should be a safe place for all your employees. You must ensure that you communicate that intimidation or bullying of people with mental health issues will not be tolerated. Have a clear policy about how such behaviour will be dealt with as soon as it is brought to your attention — then make that policy easily accessible by all of your staff.
15. Schedule an open “office” time
When you’re looking for new strategies to drive sales, manage leave requests, and fill empty shifts, you might not always have time for an open-door policy. But make your staff feel welcomed with designated “office hours” when your employees can come and speak to you about the issues they’re experiencing.
16. Support a mental health day
If you offer paid leave to your hourly employees, you can encourage them to take one of their days as a mental health well-being day. Or, better yet,create a separate leave type for a mental health day. Encourage your staff to spend time with their family, enjoy a day outside, or rest. Employees don’t need to specify why they take this paid day off. It’s just a way for them to recharge — and for your business to show it supports all employees.
17. Introduce wellness initiatives.
Wellness initiatives such as mindfulness sessions, yoga classes, or physical fitness programs can help reduce stress and promote better mental health. Look around your local area for businesses you could partner with, such as a local yoga studio.
18. Include your hourly employees in your wellness benefit programs
Employee benefits can be costly, and most small businesses can’t afford to extend all their benefits to hourly staff. However, instead of offering the complete benefits package to your hourly staff, you could offer parts of a wellness benefits program. For example, you can provide your hourly employees with a discounted gym membership or a team social activity once a month.
19. Identify triggers
Triggers can be words, actions, or situations that exacerbate an employee’s mental health. Just as you should look out for changes in your staff’s behaviour, also keep track of common triggers for your staff. For example, triggers might be setting unrealistic deadlines and expectations or asking staff to spend long periods working alone.
20. Keep in contact
If your hourly employee cannot attend work due to mental health issues, you should try to keep in touch with them. A phone call, text, or video chat — remind them that you’re there to support them.
Build a workspace with mental health in mind
As a manager, you want to create a workspace that promotes positive mental health. The first step is talking to your workers and maintaining open communication. Work together to find solutions to improve your work environment so it reduces stress and encourages productivity.
Collaboration is easier when you have the right tools on hand. With Deputy, you can streamline task management and scheduling for your teams — and create better work-life balance for all your employees.
Want to learn more? Download The Employer's Guide to Workplace Wellness today.