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Mental Health in the Workplace: 5 Strategies Backed by Recent Studies

Mental Health in the Workplace: 5 Strategies Backed by Recent Studies

, by FLOW Admin, 4 min reading time

In today's modern workplace, mental health has emerged as a critical factor influencing employee well-being and productivity. With a growing recognition of its importance, businesses are actively seeking effective strategies to address mental health challenges. This blog explores five evidence-based approaches to enhance mental well-being in the workplace.

Promoting Physical Activity

  • Recent Studies: Research has consistently shown that physical activity can significantly improve mental health. A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that even small amounts of exercise can prevent future depression.
  • A study in The Lancet Psychiatry found that individuals who exercised had 43.2% fewer days of poor mental health compared to those who did not.
  • Exercise Equipment in the Office: Integrating office exercise equipment such as walking pads into the workplace encourages regular physical activity. Walking while working has been linked to reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Companies such as Google, Nike and Ford have implemented exercise equipment in their offices and have found a positive impact on both the physical and mental health of employees.

Encouraging Regular Breaks

  • Evidence-Based Approach: Taking regular breaks throughout the workday is essential for mental health. According to a study in the Journal of Applied Psychology, brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one's ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods.
  • Practical Implementation: Encourage employees to take short, frequent breaks for activities like reading, stretching, or meditation.
  • Google's '80-20' rule, allowing employees to spend 20% of their time on creative side projects, exemplifies this strategy, contributing to both employee satisfaction and innovation.

Creating a Supportive Work Environment

    • Research Insights: A study by Mind, a mental health charity, revealed that 60% of employees would feel more motivated and more likely to recommend their organisation as a good place to work if their employer took action to support mental well-being.
    • Action Steps: Foster an inclusive and supportive workplace culture through regular check-ins, team-building activities and open communication channels.
    • Organise social events to foster connections and camaraderie among employees.

    Offering Mental Health Resources

      • Backed by Studies: Access to mental health resources is vital. Research in the Lancet Psychiatry indicates that interventions like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can be effectively delivered in the workplace, reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
      • Implementation: Provide employees with access to mental health resources, such as counselling services, workshops, or online tools and apps.
      • Provide training for managers and team leaders to recognise signs of mental distress and offer appropriate support.

      Flexible Work Arrangements

        • Supporting Research: Flexibility in work arrangements can lead to better mental health. A study from the Flexible Working Report shows that flexible working arrangements can reduce stress, improve work-life balance, and enhance overall well-being.
        • A survey by FlexJobs found that 87% of workers believe flexible jobs would lower their stress, and 97% say a job with flexibility would have a positive impact on their overall quality of life.
        • Adopting Flexibility: Implement flexible working hours or remote working options where possible to help employees manage work-life balance and reduce stress.


        Addressing mental health in the workplace requires a multifaceted approach. By promoting physical activity, encouraging regular breaks, creating a supportive environment, offering mental health resources, and providing flexible work arrangements, businesses can create a healthier, more productive, and more supportive workplace. These strategies not only contribute to a healthier work environment but also to the overall success of the organisation.


        How can businesses measure the effectiveness of these mental health strategies in the workplace?

        Businesses can measure the effectiveness of mental health strategies by conducting regular employee surveys, monitoring absenteeism rates, and assessing overall productivity and employee engagement levels. Feedback sessions can also provide qualitative insights into the impact of these initiatives.

        Are there specific types of physical activities that are most beneficial for mental health in a workplace setting?

        In the workplace, physical activities that are beneficial for mental health include low-impact exercises like yoga, stretching, and walking. Activities that can be integrated into the work routine, like walking meetings or desk-based exercises, are particularly effective.

        How can small businesses with limited resources implement these mental health strategies effectively?

        Small businesses can implement mental health strategies by focusing on low-cost initiatives like creating a supportive culture, encouraging regular breaks, and flexible work arrangements. They can also utilise free or affordable online resources and apps for mental health support.

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