Aside from your duty of care, why should you care about mental health in the workplace? Studies have shown that improving mental health in the workplace increases productivity, efficiency, and reputation. 21% of workers surveyed have called in sick due to workplace stress, indicating low employee engagement and high absenteeism.
Improve your workplace culture
Does your office feel like a pleasant place to work? Do you provide refreshments and breakroom activities? The little things can make a massive difference to how employees view their workplace, you should definitely be providing fresh clean water (you can read all about the benefits here), but consider providing tea, coffee, and snacks.
Understand that each of your employees has individual needs and workplace preferences. The more introverted amongst your staff may find loud and boisterous workplaces stressful environments to work within, ensure that, where possible, a quiet working location is available to all staff. Modern offices are moving increasingly towards flexible working times and locations, allowing workers to choose their office times, lunch breaks, and when they want to work from home will increase their autonomy, and reduce their stress levels.
Tackle the causes of workplace stress
Every office has ‘office gripes’, you know the ones, ‘The office is too cold’, ‘These chairs are uncomfortable’, ‘We don’t get enough time for lunch’, these little factors add up and contribute to workplace stress, so whilst you may laugh these comments off, tackling them will send your employees a sign that you truly care about their wellbeing.
Once the little things are handled, you’ll have time to take care of the big workplace stress causes. Investigate ways to lessen the workload and lighten the mood. Select a workplace ‘Stress leader’, to whom staff can approach for advice or support, if a union is in place in your workplace, they will be able to help you in your efforts to support your workers.
A mentally well workplace has a positive and transparent organisational culture. Encourage workers to discuss problems and issues as and when they arise in a supportive and non-judgemental atmosphere. Mind has some great resources for promoting positive wellbeing in the workplace, and you can find them here; http://www.mind.org.uk/workplace/mental-health-at-work/
Ensure your workplace is an environment in which everyone is comfortable, there should be zero tolerance on bullying, harassment, and discrimination. Not sure how to promote such an atmosphere? The policies are available to read here; https://www.gov.uk/workplace-bullying-and-harassment, and here; https://www.gov.uk/discrimination-your-rights/types-of-discrimination