mental health awareness training for employees
Management & Mindset

How to Support Mental Health for Employees Working Remotely in 2023

The 2020 pandemic and subsequent financial recession forced many companies to make major changes to their business models. For many, this included working remotely, possibly indefinitely. While there are many who love and appreciate the freedom that remote work brings, it also comes with several challenges. 

Employee programs, like mental health training, can be more difficult to deliver in a remote environment. And yet, providing mental health training can help ensure your employees can get the support they need to thrive. That’s why it’s so important that you keep these programs alive and thriving well into the future. 

But why is mental health training so important? And how can you implement such a program remotely? In this article, we’re going to answer all of these questions and more. 

Why is mental health awareness training for employees important?

The mental health of your employees has a direct impact on your business. If your employees are suffering, so too shall your bottom line. 

Why is this? 

It’s a well-known fact that the mental state directly affects a person’s productivity. Therefore, taking care of the mental health of your employees should be one of your priorities. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to do this. Companies can provide employees with free gyms, discounts on self-care products, or partner with companies like Teale.

So, you now know that with enhanced mental stability comes enhanced productivity and profitability. This helps you both in the short term by bringing in more money, but also in the long term. If you ever want to sell your company, you need to ensure that you have years of productive, profitable history that you can point to. It will add value to your business. 

Additionally, a strong mental health program is a great benefit you can promote when recruiting. It could be the difference between a new prospective hire signing with you over signing with one of your competitors. 

Creating an environment where mental health has the appropriate importance placed on it makes it an ideal environment for the best and brightest professional minds. 

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Who should deliver workplace mental awareness health training?

Ideally, workplace mental health training should be delivered by either a mental health professional, a member of your HR team who has received mental health training, or another subject matter expert. 

You can’t just prop a manager up in front of your remote team on a Zoom meeting and have them read from a manual. If they don’t fully understand and embrace what they’re trying to teach, it won’t be very effective in practice, even if they say everything the right way.  

What makes an excellent workplace mental health awareness training program?

The best remote workplace mental health awareness training program will offer inclusive personalization options for all team members. 

It’s important to recognize that different employees have different personalities and require different types of support. For example, employees with INFJ personalities are more introverted and can do better working independently, while their more extroverted counterparts require more social interaction for their mental health.

These programs should also be accessible to all team members while not inhibiting their ability to perform job duties.

8 key tips to implement a successful mental health awareness training program for employees

1. Determine the appropriate number of training hours

Mental health training and awareness are very important and should be given the proper amount of time and attention. At the same time, you don’t want to dedicate so much time to it that your employees fall behind on their assigned tasks. 

If that happens, you’re likely to negatively impact the mental health of your remote team while trying to help them. 

Consider providing asynchronous training options for your employees, wherein the team members can complete training on their own time within a set time period. This ensures that they’ll be able to partake in relevant courses at suitable times in a way that won’t throw their work schedule off.

2. Ensure that participants will be comfortable sharing

Make sure that your employees understand that this is a safe space where they can share whatever they need to get out without fear of mockery, judgment, or reprisal. This should be well known and put in writing so that everyone feels comfortable sharing. 

3. Present an unbiased overview of mental health

It’s important for whoever is leading this training to present an unbiased view of mental health, free of stigma. They should have a clinical view of it to keep the entire process objective.

4. Create a safe online space to discuss the stigma of mental health

Unfortunately, there’s a stigma surrounding mental health that says people who suffer from mental disorders are somehow abnormal or even dangerous. That’s why you need to discuss these stigmas and work hard to counteract them in a safe online space. This could be done via email, online eLearning courses, or through video meetings where team members are encouraged to share their thoughts.
Owl Labs reports that 16% of companies exclusively hire remote workers, and according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 8 in 10 workers say shame and stigma prevent them from seeking treatment for a mental health condition. For employees concerned about job security, hearing the boss say, “We talk about mental health here,” is a clear sign that it’s okay to ask for help.

5. Emphasize the importance of self-care

Self-care is incredibly important for the mental health of an employee. You need to let them know that your company doesn’t adhere to toxic or predatory business practices and that you’re committed to ensuring a fair and balanced workload for each one of your teams to help maintain well-being. Additionally, consider taking these learning and development steps to improve the company culture and promote retention. 

Encourage employees to take their vacation days and sick days when needed. They should also know that it’s alright to take a break when needed.

6. Encourage employees to set boundaries for their remote schedules

It’s easy for a remote work schedule to encompass a person’s life. Ensure that your employees know they’re not expected to work 80-hour weeks. They must set time aside for their mental health, relaxation, and family and friends. 

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7. Make sure all participants feel heard, validated, and cared for

Give everyone an opportunity to speak and be heard. Validate their thoughts and never make them feel judged. Your remote mental health program might be taking place in a virtual landscape, but the compassion, understanding, and validation have to be felt in reality. 

8. Adopt a collaborative learning approach

When conducting mental health training for your team, make sure that you take a collaborative learning approach. In a collaborative learning environment, employees are encouraged to share their knowledge and learn from one another by upskilling from within. It encourages cooperative learning, which is great for a remote team that is separated at all times. It can bring them together and create a bond while enriching their learning experience. 

Employee mental health matters–especially from a distance

Despite the rise in popularity of mental health awareness training, many businesses still struggle to equip their employees with the most basic knowledge. While it can be difficult to find some of the important resources to run a remote mental health awareness training program, they are available if you look. 

The key is to invest effort in creating a meaningful program that your employees can use to learn, increase their mental health knowledge, and succeed in their jobs.