Promoting mental wellbeing 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. In today’s blog, we’ll be discussing some top tips to foster and encourage mental wellbeing in your office or workplace.

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 clear 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. Team building exercises no longer have to be the cliched sessions of the nineties, and can involve physical activity or puzzles, such as escape games or outdoor activity centres. This will not only improve workplace morale, but strengthen workplace relationships
 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.

Improve your workplace culture

Does your office feel like a pleasant place to work? Do you provide refreshments and break-room activities? The little things can make a massive difference to how employees view their workplace, you should definitely be providing fresh clean water, 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.

Be supportive

If you are aware that an employee experiences mental illness, you have a duty of care to be supportive and make reasonable adjustments in the workplace. Get to know how they like to work, and try your hardest to facilitate this wherever possible. A sick day due to mental illness or stress is just as valid as one due to physical illness, so ensure that your tone is non-judgemental when somebody telephones in to report illness from mental illness. When they return, take the time to check in with them, and find out how to best support them moving forward.

Promote wellbeing

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