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Create a workplace that focuses on supporting mental health

Create a workplace that focuses on supporting mental health

The stigma of mental health is slowly being removed and it is becoming more normalised as a topic of discussion. We spend most of our time in our jobs so it’s vital to work in a healthy environment. Mental health can have a damaging impact on a business; employees are expected to work efficiently and to do so it’s important for them to feel fulfilled in their role, to feel valued and supported. It’s not just an employer’s ethical responsibility to prioritise mental health; a business will also reap many benefits, such as staff retention and attracting top talent.

So how do we create a workplace that supports mental health?

Put in place communication channels

Make help readily available. Assign fellow work buddies to employees to look out for each other. This will provide a support system to allow employees to have a point of contact; someone to go to for the small issues they may be facing, through to the bigger and potentially more significant personal issues. Organise regular check- ins with employees; giving space and time for someone to “open up” and talk if they are needing help or support. Create a strong HR team, trained in dealing with mental health issues and make sure employees know who they are, for those times when they find themselves confronted with an issue or problem.

Offer training to all managers

Train people to notice and respond proactively and quickly. Training managers to notice when an employee is having an issue affecting their mental well-being or dealing with a challenging personal situation is extremely helpful. This can help resolve potential misunderstandings that may occur, such as an employee falling behind on work due to personal issues affecting performance. Training these managers to know how to effectively respond could prove vitally important, especially for an employee who is more reticent about discussing their personal concerns.

Encourage work life balance

Put a strong focus on work life balance. Employers should, where possible, offer flexible work options to facilitate this and respect work life boundaries. This helps an employee feel that they matter to the business; that their personal lives are valued by the company. This, in turn, facilitates employees finding hobbies and enjoyment in their life outside the confines of work. Hobbies such as yoga, the gym or reading clubs are activities that have been proven to benefit employees’ overall health and mental wellbeing.

Monitor employee engagement

Monitor employee engagement to pick up on any significant changes in an employee’s behavioural patterns. A drop in an employee’s productivity or after work social participation, may highlight that there are some issues going on in that person’s life or may suggest that he/she is not feeling supported at work. Monitoring engagement can help a business know when and how to better assist or intervene if necessary.

Help reduce the stigma of mental health

Hold special mental health days. Educate employees about mental health and how to look after their mental well-being. Normalise feelings we all experience to remove stigma. Pay close attention to language used in the workplace; encouraging a culture where labelling and judgment is not tolerated, and mutual respect is fostered. Encourage open and honest conversations amongst employees, within agreed, safe and confidential boundaries.

Over 25 years and going strong!

Over 25 years and
going strong!