Managing and supporting mental health at work - How can an EAP provider help your small, creative business?
It’s world mental health day on Saturday 10 October. Managing and supporting mental health at work is so important, now more so than ever. I thought I would focus this blog on a mental health related HR acronym for you (maybe I should start a blog series on them?)! You may be thinking ‘what is an EAP provider’, let alone how can an EAP provider help my small, creative business? An EAP provider might be something you think is only for larger businesses or is too costly. Well, hopefully I can provide a bit more insight to help you see that it could be just the thing your small, creative business needs.
What is an EAP provider?
You may have guessed what the first letter stands for but did you go for employee or employer? It’s actually ‘employee’ but an EAP provider is for employers too. EAP stands for ‘Employee Assistance Programme’. I like this definition from Perkbox.com:
I read and heard recently that an EAP provider is commonly the most overlooked, yet valuable, benefit offered by organisations. If you offer an EAP provider to your employees, it is important to ensure they know about it and how to access it. Otherwise they might not use it to their benefit.
How are you currently managing and supporting mental health at work?
As a small business leader, without a dedicated HR or Health and Safety person, they are likely to be managed by you. You may feel like you’ve got to be the person in control, holding it all together and managing everything. We’re all human and at times you may also feel like you could do with someone outside the business to talk to. You recognise the importance of managing and supporting your team with mental health at work. You might not be sure of the best way to adequately or properly do this.
How can an EAP provider actually help you in managing and supporting mental health at work?
The main thing an EAP provider will have is a 24/7 confidential counselling phone line for staff and their dependents (spouses/children). It will support you and your team with access to expert advice on any number of things that can affect mental health and wellbeing. It could be: family issues, bereavement, trauma, relationship issues, stress related issues, personal legal information, tax information, medical information, money management, alcohol/drugs, debt support etc. These are all things which can affect you and your team feeling able to do your job.
An EAP provider can also give specific support to people who are managing others. Something I’m sure you and a lot of other business leaders and senior managers would greatly appreciate. It’s important to recognise that you’re not alone in trying to do your job. An EAP provider can help to support that all important work/life balance. An EAP provider can have different packages which offer more. This could include: access to a GP, support for people who are carers and online resources such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
You may have noticed people not seeming themselves? Or perhaps taking more time off unwell than usual? This will affect how productive the business is. It will have a knock-on effect to economic running costs too. As HR Zone say:
Which EAP provider should you go for?
Perhaps you’re now thinking, ‘I know managing and supporting mental health at work is really important but which EAP provider should I choose? There are so many, possibly too many to choose from and this would definitely take up a lot of your valuable time. It’s important that the EAP provider fits the needs of the business. It’s also important that it’s affordable and you’re getting value for money.
What to do if you think an EAP provider is a good idea but don’t have time to implement it?
I’ve enjoyed managing this project for a number of clients. When I research an EAP provider for a client, I get to know about you, the team and the culture of the organisation. I then ensure that the EAP provider understands this too. For a small, creative business an EAP should feel like something that makes supporting and managing mental health at work easier. It needs to be straightforward and easy to use. It needs to appeal to all members of the team. They may need support with a range of issues that are affecting how they’re feeling at or about work.
You may not feel ready to invest in an EAP provider right now. It feels like an overhead expense you can’t fit into this year’s, already tight budget. What if you install one and no-one uses it, it will be a waste of money. Try not to think of it in monetary terms but as an important way in which you can support your team to manage their mental health and wellbeing. This will help them feel more able to be in control of how it’s affecting and impacting them at work. It will help them to stay productive and focused at work.
For an EAP provider to work effectively, it needs to be managed as a project correctly. From researching and selecting an EAP that’s the right fit for your small business, to implementing and communicating it to the team. An EAP is an effective way of helping to manage and support mental health at work. It can form an integral part of your health and wellbeing strategy and initiatives to support you and your team.