World Mental Health Day – Should you include your contingent workforce?

Maintaining mental health doesn't have to cost a lot or be extravagant and making a few tools available to your whole workforce might just brighten someone's day.

Mental Health in the workplace

October 10 is World Mental Health Day. The many unexpected and unplanned events that have transpired in 2020 have left people around the world in a state of uncertainty or hardship, lacking the level of stability they have been accustomed to. As a result mental health has become a more prevalent topic and area of focus for businesses.

Organizations are being looked at more for their social responsibilities when it comes to their workforce. In the past, it’s an area employers would not get involved in.  In more recent years however, employers have had more involvement, but with their full time employees.  Today, with a more integrated workforce, the net is being cast wider to include the extended workforce or contingent workforce as many refer to it.  Other terms used are non-employee workforce, agile workforce or independent contractors.

When it comes to the contractor workforce and worker classification and compliance, the amount of control an employer has over the worker is one of the key components. So how involved should you be?

In our recent article Valuing the Human Connection with your Contingent Workforce, we talked about the importance of finding the balance between technology and humanism as it relates to your contingent workforce.

The topic of mental health is a delicate one.  Should you include your contingent workforce?

The good news is, you don’t necessarily have to get directly involved with your workers’ mental health.

Regardless of the type of worker, mental health is something that pertains to everyone in all walks of life.  Everyone has a different approach to mental health and while you can make tools available, ultimately it is the individual’s responsibility.  Providing guidance or a tool kit and an open environment, opens it up for all, as they choose. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’.

Keep it simple

We’ve listed below some very simple and cost friendly practices that everyone can do.

  • Turn off the computer.  With so much more time being spent online, it’s a good practice to consciously have time away from electronics. Turn them off for a while if you can.
  • Spend time in nature.   Connecting with nature and the earth is a great way to ground.  Sit in a park or garden to absorb its goodness.
  • Breathing.  Such a simple thing and something we take for granted, but becoming conscious of our breath and changing or deepening the breath for a few minutes can make a big difference.
  • Human connection.  Take some time to connect with friends, family, colleagues.   It’s those human connections that keep us grounded and give context to our lives.
  • Use your senses.  Whether it’s to indulge in your favorite meal,  inhale the aroma of a flower or the rain, listen to your favorite music or gaze at something, using all our senses can help to get that balance back.

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘the simple things in life are often the best’.  Maintaining mental health doesn’t have to cost a lot or be extravagant and making a few tools available to your whole workforce might just brighten someone’s day.

Open door

The ‘open door’ policy let’s people know you’re available, should they need assistance.

This way, it’s optional and available to your extended workforce as well.