What Employers Can Do to Improve a Graduate’s Mental Health

Recent studies have shed light on a concerning fact: nearly a quarter of full-time workers are struggling with mental health challenges. Quite a few of these cases are directly related to their work environment. In light of this, employers have a vital responsibility to prioritise both the physical and mental well-being of their employees and especially, new graduates in their first real job.

When employees feel valued and supported by those in authoritative positions, the impact is profound. They typically become much more engaged, productive, and satisfied in their roles.

It’s a win-win situation for all.

By proactively addressing mental health concerns and providing the necessary support, employers can foster a workplace where employees thrive.

In this blog, we’re going to look at some of the key ways employers can improve their employees’ mental health:

Push for a work/life balance to boost mental health

It is a common misconception that pushing employees to their limits can boost in-house productivity. However, the reality is quite the opposite. Prolonged pressure and a lack of work-life balance can have detrimental effects on morale and quickly lead to burnout and stress. Over time, this can lead to decreased job satisfaction and increased turnover rates.

Here are some practical ways you can support your employees in achieving a healthy work-life balance:

  • Encourage sensible working hours: Set realistic working hours and discourage excessive overtime. Encourage employees to prioritise their well-being by maintaining a healthy balance between their work and personal life.
  • Proper lunch breaks: Encourage employees to take full lunch breaks without disruptions. Encourage them to step away from their workstations and use this time to relax, recharge, and enjoy a proper meal.
  • Provide recuperation time: Recognise that employees may go through busy periods or intense workloads. After this has ended, allow them to take time to recuperate and recharge. This could include providing reduced workloads or even additional time off to help them regain their energy.

Arrange regular social activities

It’s not just about the small talk that happens during work hours. Employers should really go the extra mile and arrange some fun social activities for their employees outside of work hours.

This not only enhances communication amongst colleagues but is a great way to reduce stress and combat those feelings of isolation that can creep in (especially for businesses with a mostly remote workforce who rarely get the chance to interact with their colleagues face-to-face).

Social activities could include anything from team-building exercises, sports events, or even casual get-togethers.

Create peer support systems

Employers should really understand that employees go through challenges in their work from time to time. That’s why it can be a great idea to set up a buddy system where employees can turn to a peer for support instead of always having to book a meeting with their manager. This system creates a safe and non-judgmental space where employees can openly express their feelings and talk about the difficulties they’re facing.

The buddy system goes a long way in promoting a collaborative and supportive work environment. It’s all about building stronger relationships among colleagues and creating a positive culture within the organisation. When employees have someone, they can talk to freely, it helps them grow personally and professionally.

Plus, it fosters a sense of camaraderie as co-workers come together to tackle work-related challenges. By providing employees with this supportive network, businesses can significantly improve job satisfaction, productivity, and overall well-being in the workplace.

Set realistic job expectations

Employers should make a clear attempt to set realistic job expectations that are clear, achievable, and flexible. This helps employees understand what is expected of them and motivates them to meet or exceed those expectations.

During the hiring process, a detailed job description should be provided as well as discussing key deliverables and addressing any specific requirements for the role. Employers should provide the necessary resources, tools, and support to help employees perform their job effectively, whether that be access to relevant training, technology, and information.

Secondly, it’s crucial not to overwhelm employees with unrealistic demands. When employers set expectations that are way beyond what can reasonably be accomplished, it can really take a toll on employee well-being.

With this in mind, managers should welcome regular feedback from employees. If someone is feeling overloaded, it’s essential to listen and adjust those expectations accordingly. Remember to be flexible and adapt expectations based on individual circumstances.