My name is Yas, and I founded Yaser UK, my SEO consultant agency, in 2019. One of my top priorities since setting up my own company has been taking care of my employees’ mental health.
If your team are not happy with themselves and their headspace, they will be producing work to a lesser standard than they have the potential to do, have decreased levels of motivation, and will have many negative repercussions within their own personal lives.
If I am able to make changes within my workplace to prevent this and even potentially promote a healthier mindset and mental state, why would I not?
I have had my share of working for challenging bosses and CEOs, who didn’t understand the basics of what I would present to them, and this was a large part of my experience when starting out. I found myself publicly humiliated on more than one occasion, which took a real toll on my own mental health.
Let’s face it – having a team of people you manage within earshot of you getting bolloxed isn’t the most encouraging situation, for you or for your team.
It was various situations like this, and the effect they had on my mental state, that eventually drove me to create my own agency and work for myself.
I am now in a position where I am able to treat my employees how I wish I had been treated when I was starting into the industry, and create an environment we all appreciate. I do my best to encourage a healthy, open work environment and culture while maintaining a level of professionalism and productivity.
In our office, we have monthly meditation sessions to try and ensure open-mindedness and encourage ourselves to embrace peace and productivity.
I find that these sessions help my team members to communicate more openly with each other and with me, and after these sessions, there is a noticeable improvement in the overall mood and the mental health of my employees, including myself.
Sometimes, an employee may be facing some particularly difficult challenges, be it a personal or family situation, or just a bad mental health period.
During these times, it is important for me as their boss to show compassion and care. Mental illness should be treated with the same levels of compassion and respect as any physical disability or disease.
Something as simple as assessing mental health in the workplace can increase productivity by 12%.
Being transparent about my own mental struggles with my team, even by doing something as simple as openly inputting time into my calendar for therapy sessions, has encouraged them to be open with me when they are facing any issues or changes within their mindsets.
I have also found that it inspires them to continue to deal with any mental illness with a slightly more positive outlook – I have proven to them you can be successful and progress within the work environment regardless of any mental illnesses, and also that I have faith in them by continuing to help them through any bad times they are having.
If an individual working for me would benefit from a day – or even a few – working from home or not working at all, I try to grant them this. If they continued coming into the office in this negative headspace it could lead to many un-constructive connotations.
I feel that any mental illness or challenge an employee may be facing should be addressed with the same levels of sincerity and respect as any physical illness they could face. Disregarding a mental illness can be incredibly disrespectful, significantly if it impacts how the individual lives their life or conducts themselves regarding work.
Validating and acknowledging employees what they are going through can greatly benefit them in terms of aiding them in recognising how their mental health may affect their work, and life in general, which could encourage them to instigate action to begin a treatment or recovery process.
For example, the individual may subconsciously build an association between the headspace they are in and the office environment, meaning whenever they are at work they are reminded of how they are feeling negative, and make them feel in this mindset again, preventing them from recovering and getting into a better headspace.
Furthermore, if an employee is in a depressive mindset, it will be a lot harder for them to be actively productive and produce work to the quality that they have the potential to.
Sometimes people can feel this way as a result of burnout from overworking or stress, so a day or two off to rest and recuperate may be all they need to get back on the right path and start feeling better and more productive again. Ideally, I try to spot when an individual working for me is starting to become exhausted or stressed before it becomes an overbearing issue for them, whether it is due to the workload or personal matters, and address it before it becomes a serious matter and starts to affect their work and mindset on a deeper level.
In retrospect, I learnt a lot from people like some of my old bosses, for example how to appropriately deal with employees who are showing signs of struggling mentally, or, I guess, they taught me how I did not want to respond.
Without working with difficult people, and facing some of my own mental health challenges on my continuing path to success, I would not have the adaptability and introspective that I gained.