Mental wellness affects how your team members think, feel, and act. When their mental health suffers, their quality of life and their work suffer too. For example, someone who’s burned out at work will be less focused during their daily activities, generally making them less productive and creative at work. They may also be more fatigued or irritable at home, impacting their personal relationships and the time and effort they put into personal responsibilities.

Helping your team members make self-care a priority benefits everyone. When your team members are encouraged and supported to take care of themselves, they will be more likely to take steps to maintain overall better mental wellness. This allows them to bring their best selves into every aspect of their lives.

Self-care might look a bit different for each individual person. One person might enjoy sitting on the beach and reading a book. Another might prefer to participate in a triathlon. And someone else might like to travel and experience a different culture. Keep this in mind so you can best support your team.

Promote work-life balance

The line between work and your team members’ personal lives may have blurred quite a bit in recent years due to remote work, school closures, and COVID protocols. This flexibility may be appreciated, but it’s important to put some guardrails in place to protect your team members’ mental wellness and support self-care. Your team member’s therapist appointment or mental health day won’t be as beneficial if they end up feeling stressed about looming deadlines. 

If you want to encourage self-care, it’s important to support your team’s work-life balance. For example:

  • Work with your team members to set goals. Managers and their team members should work together to set realistic goals, and discuss progress toward those goals during regular one-on-ones. This helps ensure that your team members have an appropriate workload.
  • Encourage your team members to sign off after work. The “always-on” mentality isn’t good for your team. Try setting time zone boundaries for communications, and ask company leaders to stay within those boundaries and encourage the same from their team members.
  • Offer flexible work options. Give your team members the opportunity to work where and when they’ll be most productive and happy. That could mean they work remotely, utilize a four-day workweek, or split their schedule between your company’s core work hours and evenings. 
  • No meeting Fridays. Clearing a day each week (or each month) for your team members to work uninterrupted can help them catch up and head into the weekend without a looming to-do list.

Encourage time off 

Self-care can be difficult for people to fit into their busy lives. Encourage them to use their paid time off (PTO) so they can come back refreshed and recharged. People Ops can use Sapling or a similar platform to monitor PTO and ensure it’s used to avoid burnout. 

In addition to PTO, some companies also offer:

  • Volunteer time off for team members to support a good cause and give back to the community.
  • Extra holiday time, such as an extra week off before the new year or an early dismissal before designated company holidays.
  • Mental health days where all team members take the day off at once so nobody has to worry about missing a meeting or project deadline.

Offer and promote health and wellness benefits

You can make self-care more accessible to your team members by offering health and wellness benefits. These include:

  • Mental health coverage, such as therapy, that can help your team members combat mental health issues in their work or personal lives.
  • Chiropractic and acupuncture coverage for a more holistic health care package.
  • Healthcare savings accounts to help cover out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Concierge services, such as dry cleaning or meal catering, that free up some of your team members’ time for self-care.
  • Wellness stipends that cover things like gym memberships, massage, or a meditation retreat.

Then make sure you promote these benefits so your team members know they exist and that they’re encouraged to use them.

Educate your team members about mental wellness

Your team members may not know how important self-care is to their overall wellness, or that investing time in self-care can offer returns in many different ways. They also may not know exactly how to engage in self-care. 

Help educate your team members so they’ll prioritize self-care themselves. For example:

  • Host a lunch and learn about mental wellness.
  • Encourage team members to take a Positive Mental Health course.
  • Share self-care ideas in a mental wellness Slack channel.

Final thoughts

Make workplace wellness a company-wide priority so your team members know it’s not only ok to prioritize their own self-care—it’s encouraged. Everyone on your team should support this initiative, from company leaders who lead by example, managers who support their team members, to individual contributors who take action to focus on their self-care. This will help you build a happier, more engaged, and more productive team.

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Helping Team Members Make Self-care a Priority