Workplace Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategies for a Healthier Team

See how mental health and wellbeing can impact the workplace and learn the proven ways you can support your team members.

Mental Health is an Element of Overall Wellbeing

Mental health and wellbeing, often misunderstood, are distinct yet interconnected concepts. Wellbeing refers to a holistic state of quality of life, imbued with meaning and purpose. Mental health, a subset of wellbeing, pertains to our ability to manage life’s stresses. Neglecting mental health can impair coping mechanisms, leading to disorders that affect both the individual and their workplace. Mood and anxiety disorders show how mental health issues can negatively impact workplace wellbeing. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression and anxiety account for the loss of 12 billion workdays globally every year.

How to Recognize Workplace Mental Health Struggles

Visible signs of mental health struggles include absenteeism and decreased productivity. Less obvious signs include fatigue, exhaustion, little or no self-confidence, feeling overwhelmed, or lacking a sense of belonging. These too have an impact on the workplace.

Internal workplace factors contribute to this struggle, including:

  • Heavy workloads
  • Discrimination
  • Inequality
  • Job insecurity and overall uncertainty
  • Consumers who are upset
  • Routinely handling difficult consumer situations
  • Inadequate support

External factors, such as a loved one in a school where there was a recent shooting or relatives living in a war-torn country, can also impact an individual’s mental health. While these factors are beyond our control, awareness and support can help mitigate their impact.

Support Mental Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace Through Company Culture

Company culture plays a big role in its team members’ mental health and wellbeing. At Bridgeforce, we prioritize a culture that encourages employees to excel. For us, this translates as a team of people who are always willing to go above and beyond. We continually assess our team’s needs, which has resulted in enhanced time-off benefits for family care and bereavement.

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Our team members have different needs during different stages of life and our annual assessment of benefit caters to those needs. We also offer a confidential, third-party Employee Assistance Program (EAP).  Besides benefits, we regularly review our internal practices to ensure that they are designed appropriately and not designed to cause undue stress or anxiety.

Build a Company Culture of Empathy, Trust and Belonging

Our culture of empathy, trust and belonging is our greatest asset. We create a safe space, maintain regular contact with each team member and hold annual in-person meetings. As a virtual company with team members based throughout the US and UK, we have found that this face-to-face time is essential to strengthening those relationships. We keep the momentum going through weekly Friday meetings where we come together virtually. Throughout all our engagements with the team, we consistently encourage open discussions about stress and challenges, fostering a stigma-free environment.

Research shows that employees value a nurturing work environment. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), workplaces that provide empathy training see a rise in employees feeling physically safe (90% vs 78%), experiencing transparent communication (93% vs. 56%), and trusting leadership (91% vs 62%).

Chart showing workplace mental health stats from SHRM

Like we do at Bridgeforce, you can also foster this type of culture. Simply ask team members how they are doing. Regular check-ins, open discussions about stress and a gentle approach to conversations creates a safe space for team members. If performance slips, we offer support and job modifications (if possible) referring to the EAP or other resources.

Questions to Gauge Your Workplace Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy

When looking at how you can support mental health and wellbeing in your workplace, consider the following:

  • Do your medical benefits cover mental health and wellbeing?
  • Is there an EAP available?
  • Are team members aware of available mental health resources?
  • Are time-off policies flexible to accommodate team member needs?
  • Do performance management practices support development without causing undue stress?
  • How do you ensure a sense of belonging for both onsite and remote team members?
  • Is empathy training available?
  • How supportive is leadership of mental health in your workplace?

Empathy, trust, and a sense of belonging are key contributors to a healthy workplace. Remember, even small gestures of support can have a significant impact on fostering a healthy workplace.


[Editor’s Note: Tricia and Michelle Macartney presented at the 2023 Women in Consumer Finance Conference on the very important topic of how executives can foster a culture of mental health and well-being. They both had experienced firsthand how investing in such culture positively impacts employees and thus benefits a company. After the conference, the WCF team shared out the top three takeaways from the conference, which included the content Tricia and Michelle shared.]

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