Emma Mamo* says workplace wellbeing is crucial to productivity and can often be promoted by making simple adjustments.
We all know that work can impact on our mental health.
Stressful workloads, difficult relationships and long hours can contribute to us feeling burnt out and unwell.
Research from Mind’s Workplace Wellbeing Index shows that 48 per cent of the employees surveyed have experienced a mental health problem in their current job.
The day-to-day demands and pressures of work do not need to be a barrier to good mental health.
With an effective plan in place, employers can take steps to help reduce some of the work-related causes of mental health problems.
Here are our four top tips to get you started:
Take stock of what’s going on:
The first step is to get a clear picture of what current levels of employee wellbeing look like in your organisation.
Is feedback largely positive, or are your employees often stressed out and demotivated?
You can ask line managers to start including wellbeing as part of their catch-ups with staff and use team meetings and staff surveys as an opportunity to find out more about what’s going on.
Train your line managers:
The relationships line managers have with their teams are crucial to supporting employee’s mental health at work.
As part of your plan, offer line managers training in how to spot signs of mental health problems or stress in staff.
This includes how to have a supportive conversation and where to signpost employees for more support.
Support your line managers to have effective and regular one-to-ones with their team members as these are the key to keeping lines of communication open.
Work on improving the physical environment:
Noise, lack of space, temperature and poor lighting all have an impact on employee wellbeing.
They can make existing mental health problems worse.
After taking stock of the mental health of your employees you may become aware of certain aspects of the physical working environment which are causing problems.
Fix these if you can.
Even simple measures like allowing a bit more natural light into the office, or having some plants dotted around, have been shown to reduce employee stress and increase productivity.
If it’s feasible, have a dedicated quiet space where employees can take time out if they need to.
Agree what is and isn’t appropriate when it comes to noise levels and encourage people to be sensitive to the needs of others around them.
Promote a healthy work-life balance:
We all know that a healthy work-life balance is important for our wellbeing.
However, when a major deadline is coming up, it’s easy to fall into the pattern of long hours and checking emails out of hours.
Constant pressure and not taking enough breaks can lead to burnout, reduced productivity and poor mental health.
Set an example to your staff by taking regular breaks, working sensible hours and avoid checking emails outside of work, especially at weekends or when on holiday.
Encourage and support your staff to do the same.
*Emma Mamo is head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind United Kingdom, leading Mind’s program to influence employer policy and practice in relation to mentally healthy workplaces. She can be contacted at mind.org.uk/work.
This article first appeared on LinkedIn