Creating a workplace environment that promotes positive mental health is an employer’s most important step to improving their organisation. Employees perform best when they feel understood and valued.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 45% of Australians aged 16 – 85 will suffer a mental health condition in their lifetime. Additionally, untreated conditions cost Australian workplaces an estimated $10.9 billion a year. These figures highlight the importance of positive mental well-being promotion in the workplace.
How to Promote Positive Mental Well-being in the Workplace
Simple changes in the workplace can improve employee mental health and boost productivity. Here are a few examples:
Employers should clearly communicate employee responsibilities and encourage continuous engagement towards achieving the set goals. They should also enable employees with the tools and training required to accomplish each task successfully.
Sharing the overall goal and mission of the organisation will make employees feel involved and valued. Communication will also help employees not worry about their positions’ future and focus more on the assigned tasks.
Developing Workplace Health and Safety Guidelines
A healthy work environment can be created by establishing and enforcing clear health and safety policies. In addition, employers should have processes for early identification, reporting, support, and rehabilitation of affected staff members.
Companies should institute rules prohibiting workplace harassment, bullying, and victimisation. These rules and incorruptible complaint investigation procedures will help boost the confidence of new and junior employees.
Mental Health Awareness
Employers should cultivate a mental health awareness culture in workplaces and encourage employees to discuss such issues openly. Companies could also facilitate employee participation in events such as World Mental Health Day held in October each year.
Employers can also organise mental health workshops where professionals discuss positive mental health strategies and train employees in early identification and stress and anxiety management.
Encourage a Healthy Work-life Balance
Employers should allow employees time to attend personal and self-care appointments. It could be as simple as permitting them to participate in essential family functions and events or allowing schedule adjustments to make time for personal matters.
Structured flexibility also boosts employee morale and productivity to the employer’s advantage. Take our recent article on Energy & Resources Team Secretary Michelle Riding, whose workplace flexibility during COVID provided a positive lifestyle shift. Companies should also encourage downtime for employees out of the office by not expecting them to take work-related calls or answer emails.
Encourage Physical Activity
Physical and mental well-being are inseparable. Eating healthily and regular exercise is essential to positive mental health. Employers could allow and encourage their employees to take brief walks over lunch breaks. They can also offer them discounted gym memberships to promote physical activity.
Benefits of positive mental well-being in the workplace
Positive mental well-being has several benefits for individual employees and the company as a whole, such as:
- Enhanced employee performance and productivity – employees perform best when they have high levels of psychological well-being.
- Improving the company’s bottom line – reduced recruitment costs and staff turnover coupled with improved productivity contribute to the company’s success.
- Improved employee well-being – work provides us with opportunities to network and grow to achieve our goals.
- Enabling recovery – work plays a critical role in assisting the recovery of those with mental illnesses.
- Attracting and keeping top talent – companies that invest in mental well-being attract and retain the best and brightest candidates. Reach out to us and learn more.