How to promote mental health well-being in the workplace
Mind UK recommends that employers adopt a strategy that:
Promotes well-being for all staff.
Tackles the causes of work-related mental health problems.
Supports staff who are experiencing problems.
There are some simple and inexpensive ways to support staff mental health well-being in the workplace.
A culture of openness
Speaking regularly with workers to make sure there are no problems and find out if there are any factors at work that may be causing stress. This could be done on a 1-2-1 or team level where employees talk regularly about mental health.
This approach can work well to promote and normalise open conversations and break down mental health stigmas in the workplace.
Promote work/life balance
We all have busier times where our work ends up spilling over into our personal life, but if this becomes the norm, workers can quickly find themselves stressed and burning out.
Encourage staff to work sensible hours, take full lunch breaks, avoid working out of hours (especially at home) and to take their full annual leave entitlement.
Flexible working is another good way to promote staff well-being. Allowing flexibility for working times, location, shift pattern supports healthier and more productive ways of working. For example, reducing a worker’s commute time by having flexible start and finish times will free up time, energy and head-space and improving productivity and ultimately increasing job satisfaction.
This way of working can also act as an early intervention where someone may be starting to suffer with a mental health problem by helping to prevent the problem from getting worse. One of the hardest things to do while struggling with mental health issues is to try and stick to a strict work routine, and the pressure of trying to do so can lead to the problem getting much worse.
Encourage positive working relationships & social activities
Making your workplace a positive environment by encouraging a culture of teamwork, collaboration and creating opportunities for social activities, increases job satisfaction and can also help staff feel that they have a supportive network that they can open up to if needed - a lot of employees feel more comfortable confiding in peers rather than a Manager.
Also, ensuring that there are robust bullying and harassment policies in place that all employees aware of plays an important role in reducing conflict and promoting positive relationships at work.
by Jennifer Headington
(Advice based on Mind toolkits, available at www.mind.org.uk)
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