Welcome back to our continuing series on returning to work after a leave of absence for mental health reasons. In the last post, we discussed the steps you should take in order to ensure that expectations and accommodations can be made for you upon your return. It is important to note that harassment and discrimination in the workplace as a result of your mental illness should not be tolerated and that the human resources department in your company should be involved right away should this situation occur.
In today's post, we will focus on the ways that employers can help employees make the transition back into the workplace successfully. Ways to help a returning employee are below. If you need the best mental health therapists in Raleigh, NC, call Legacy Freedom.
- Make Accommodations - Be willing to work with your employee to meet their mental health needs. Adjusting work hours to allow them to see their therapist or attend support meetings is just one of the ways that an employer can demonstrate their support to the employee.
- Have a Plan in Place to Discuss Their Absence - Talk with your returning employee and find out how they would like their absence to be discussed. Use the terms and phrases that they are comfortable with and be sure to reassure them that these situations are handled with confidentiality and compassion.
- Set Clear Expectations - Now that you are aware there is an issue, set clear expectations for work and for time to be made up when work is missed. These expectations should be quantifiable and presented to the employee in a clear and well-defined way.
- Ask Questions - Seek to understand how this new diagnosis will affect performance or impact co-workers or clients. Work together with the employee to minimize these effects by adjusting job duties or tailoring the role to meet the employee's needs.
Creating a culture where mental health is supported, and there are programs in place to encourage employees to take care of their mental health can help employers meet these challenges head on. Employee assistance programs (EAP) are designed to help employees connect with resources in the community to manage depression, anxiety, stress and other mental health concerns. Studies have shown that employers who see the link between success and employee well-being are more poised for success than those who do not acknowledge employee's needs for mental health care.
Employers who addressed employees mental health needs and put plans like an EAP in place reported an increased amount of productivity, a decreased rate of turnover and improved levels of employee job satisfaction. As you help your employee transition back into the workplace, ask for feedback on how you can assist them and other employees to put their mental well-being at the forefront during the work day.
Be sure to involve your human resources department to ensure that all company guidelines are being followed and that any available resources are being provided to the returning employee. If you are concerned about a co-worker, friend or loved one's mental health, Legacy Freedom can help. We offer a holistic approach to mental health care that focuses on treating the individual, not the mental illness.
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