Employee mental health is key to your company’s success, as it directly impacts your employees’ performance, productivity, and motivation. Organizations will find it hard to achieve long-term growth without programs and policies addressing mental health at work. 

Anxiety, burnout, depression, and other mental health issues affect employees’ well-being. You may not notice, but some of them may have already been showing signs of mental health issues. For instance, do you have an employee showing a drastic personality change? Do they seem agitated, stressed out, or even angry? Do you notice someone who seems to be withdrawing from the rest of your team? Has an employee approached you about dealing with feelings of hopelessness?  

These are all signs of a possible mental health condition, and it happens more in the workplace than you think.  

A 2021 Gallup survey of employees across the United States revealed that 57 percent experience significant work stress.1 That is an easy and alarming majority. Imagine how this stress can translate to other workplace issues and impact your employees’ quality of work.  

This is why it is pertinent that managers take on a vital role in helping employees manage their mental health at work and proactively. Together with their employee, managers must confront any mental health challenges in the workplace.  

However, in confronting mental health wellness in the workplace, many managers make mistakes that, unfortunately, tend to do more harm than good. Here are the most common ones. 

Mistakes that Managers Make on Mental Health Wellness  

1. Failure to Mitigate Mental Health Stigma  

A significant percentage of the US workforce often shies away from revealing the real status of their mental health with their superiors. This was the insight from Modern Forrester Consulting’s June 2022 survey conducted among employees, hiring managers, and C-suite executives. 

Despite their prevalence, workplace stress, burnout, and mental well-being remain taboo topics that an employee would rather not discuss. The survey reported that only 51 percent of employees feel comfortable discussing their mental health status with their bosses, and 49 percent would rather not.2 

Most employees value what their employer thinks of them for practical reasons. They want to be viewed as competent individuals that employers can depend on anytime. With this “ideal” perception that they don’t want to change, they deem approaching their employer to discuss mental health may be seen by their boss as a sign of weakness, incapability, and liability.  

This is why managers must go out of their way to let employees know that mental health is not taboo. They must take the lead in breaking the stigma and creating an environment where mental health concerns are discussed and addressed. 

2. Lack of Focus on Mental Health SUSTAINABILITY.  

In another survey, more than 70 percent of C-suite executives feel they are promoting an environment conducive to workplace mental health. It’s because their employees have paid time off to attend to work-life balance, including free time to cater to their employees’ mental wellness.2  

However, the survey also revealed that only 53 percent of employees feel welcome to use their paid time off, considering all the demands in the office. Moreover, only 46 percent feel welcome to take time off for a mental health break.2 

Any employer should know that mental health initiatives, such as counseling, yoga, quiet times, and the like, will only work if they approach mental health holistically. They must not be used as palliative solutions to deep-rooted problems in company operations, policies, and structure.  

Employers should take a closer look at the potential causes of mental health problems among their employees. Are your employees overworked? Do you need to make changes in your workforce, a shift in the organizational chart, or the daily workflow? Are certain people causing undue stress in the workplace? These are hard questions that call for transparent answers from managers.  

3. Lack of Flexibility in the Company  

Unfortunately, many employers are still in denial about how the pandemic permanently changed the world of work. As a result, some managers fail to truly understand how this global public health crisis and its resulting mental health breakdown have negatively affected the workforce. Hence, they insist on operating as if the pandemic never happened.  

One recent study revealed that 74 percent of employers believe their employees demand too much mental health support. Moreover, 71 percent of employers believe mental health programs are too expensive, and 69 percent do not see the need to prioritize mental health benefits since employees did not receive the same before.  

As a manager, reflect on the possibility of offering remote work to your employees. Have you ever considered offering time flexibility to your employees? This could be helpful, especially to mothers and homemakers. How about assigning “no meeting” days to your employees?  

Once you are past these most common mistakes, here are some actionable tips that can help boost your initiatives for holistic and sustainable mental health awareness efforts in your organization.  

1. Build a Company Culture that Thrives on Connections  

Assign people from within your organization to check on their colleagues periodically. This is where your middle managers can best come in. This is needed more now that remote work has become quite ubiquitous.  

Encourage regular check-ins during coffee breaks or right after town halls. Make your company more human by establishing a culture of good communication and personal connection.  

2. Spend Time with Your Employees.  

Designate dedicated time with your team. If your company is already too large for you to meet all your employees in one go, break them down according to teams. Sponsor regular company lunches or dinners, and create regular programs where you can spend time with your employees.  

It need not be the whole day. Instead, spend a few hours with them over lunch or early dinner and over some drinks. Model this behavior to your employees by simply living a little. Being an example to them can go a long way.

3. Offer Flexibility at Work.  

If you want to retain your employees while contributing to workplace mental health, then you may want to implement a more flexible working schedule for them. Allow more time for employees to work remotely so that they can properly manage work-related stress connected with the daily commute, inclement weather, and affairs at home.  

4. Create a Psychologically Safe Workplace.  

Along with establishing open communication lines, spending dedicated time, and offering flexibility at work to employees, you must also develop a workplace that’s free of discrimination and celebrates diversity and inclusion.  

When your employees feel welcomed and accepted, they also tend to be more open and communicative. Hence, it is YOUR responsibility to create this kind of environment where they can grow and thrive—for your mutual benefit.


To help you focus on building a psychologically safe workplace, collaborate with a staffing firm like Fox Search Group that not only takes mental health at work to heart but also prioritizes diversity and inclusion. At Fox Search Group, we can take care of sourcing top professionals for your company and support you in finding individuals that can contribute to an environment that supports mental well-being.  

Together, let us create a diverse, inclusive, and healthy workplace for your employees and your company. Talk to us today! 


1“Undue Stress on Workers Can Decrease Productivity.” Business News Daily, https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8486-effects-workplace-stress.html

2 Onque, Renee. “49% Of Workers Fear Repercussions for Being Open about Their Mental Health at Work.” CNBC, CNBC, 13 Sept. 2022, https://www.cnbc.com/2022/09/13/49percent-of-workers-fear-being-open-about-mental-health-status-at-work.html