How To Create A Healthy Workplace Environment09 May, 20225 minutes
Work is an important aspect of many of our lives. It is where we spend the majority of our t...
Work is an important aspect of many of our lives. It is where we spend the majority of our time, where we earn our money, and where we frequently establish friends.
Having a career that you enjoy can be beneficial to your mental health and overall well-being.
Many employers and business owners believe that an employee's mental health is not their problem. However, how an employee feels, thinks, and acts has an impact on everything from productivity to communication to their capacity to maintain workplace safety.
All mental health problems will not be prevented or reduced by a healthy workplace environment. These will still come from life experiences and past trauma, which all contribute to the development of mental health issues. Good mental health at work, on the other hand, goes hand in hand with good management, and there is solid evidence that companies with high levels of mental well-being are more productive. Taking care of one's well-being at work can boost productivity by as much as 12%.
Dealing with stress in the workplace has long been a problem for businesses. Everyone who has ever held a job has, at some point, felt the pressure of work-related stress. Any job can have stressful elements, even if you love what you do. In the short term, you may experience pressure to meet a deadline or to fulfil a challenging obligation. But when work stress becomes chronic, it can be overwhelming—and harmful to both physical and emotional health.
Stress is a normal part of life; some stress is beneficial and motivating, but when stress becomes overwhelming, it can have a negative impact on a person's mental health. Recognising the warning signs and intervening early can help prevent feelings from spiraling out of control. Taking steps to manage workplace stress is critical for both employers and employees in order to create a mentally healthy working environment where people feel supported.
Common sources of work stress
- Certain factors tend to go hand-in-hand with work-related stress. Some common workplace stressors are:
- Low salaries
- Excessive workloads
- Few opportunities for growth or advancement
- Work that isn’t engaging or challenging
- Lack of social support
- Not having enough control over job-related decisions
- Conflicting demands or unclear performance expectations
One of the most important steps an employer can take to improve an individual's well-being, as well as the health of their entire company, is to assist them in improving their mental health. So, how can you foster a positive mental health culture in the workplace? Let’s look at some scenarios and strategies you can employ the next time you're stressed at work.
Reduce the Stigma
Talking about mental health used to be a taboo subject, and it still is for some individuals. Establish a safe space for people to communicate about their mental health by discussing stress management, self-care, and mental health in emails, meetings, and other places. Employees who feel free to be themselves at work are more likely to speak up without fear of being judged or facing repercussions.
Manage your Workload
When we work too much, we put ourselves at risk of burnout—a psychological syndrome that leaves us constantly exhausted, overly cynical, and feeling like nothing we do matters.
Everyone needs help from time to time and discussing your workload with your manager is important if you’re struggling. Simply getting your worries off your chest can help, and together you can work to set realistic targets. It’s okay to place boundaries: say no. Strong boundaries are essential in any healthy relationship, including your relationship with your employer.
Accepting a task that you are unable to complete may result in an excessive amount of stress in addition to the task being poorly completed. And without clear boundaries around the workday (and even during the workday), you’ll always be tempted to keep working. You might have a conversation with your boss about expectations and deadlines. They might be able to help you set boundaries at work and resolve any time-management issues you're having.
An important strategy to help manage your workload is prioritising your work. By learning how to prioritize means getting more out of the limited time you have each day. It’s one of the cornerstones of productivity and once you know how to properly prioritize, it can help with everything from your time management to work-life balance.
Discuss Mental Health in the Workplace
Openly discuss and bring up concerns such as stress, depression, and anxiety in the workplace, and make it apparent that everyone struggles to be mentally healthy at times. Encourage your managers to recognise the indicators of mental illness and to talk to their colleagues about it. Leaders can help by sharing personal tales regarding their mental health, such as problems they've faced and how they overcome them. Employees who bravely and honestly share their issues can help build a sense of trust, knowing that they will be supported if they come forward with their own problems.
Promote a Healthy Work/Life Balance
Productivity will undoubtedly decline without a proper work/life balance, and people will eventually burn out. This could mean finishing work on time, avoiding sending emails 'out of hours,' or not working while you're sick. Allowing employees uninterrupted time to relax, socialise, and pursue hobbies outside of work is a crucial way to support them and create a great workplace culture.
Make Wellness a Priority
Make it a priority to assist employees in developing excellent mental health practises at work. Employee wellness includes not only mental but also physical health – therefore to promote wellness it is important that the company encourages exercise for example with a walking club at lunch. For mental health, encourage mini breaks and be mindful of workloads.
Knowing what your stressors are can help you anticipate them, making long-term stress management easier. For example, if deadlines make you anxious, you may need to request longer lead times or begin earlier. If you don't have enough time to complete all of your responsibilities, you may want to automate some of them. If this isn't possible at work, try to spend some time thinking about it outside of work. Consider making a list of everything that usually causes you a lot of stress at work. Try to write at least two possible ways to deal with those stressors next to each.
Ask For Support
Clarity about expectations and performance are important steps toward feeling more confident and less stressed at work. However, having an honest and open relationship with your boss is a critical factor. Having a difficult conversation about workplace stress, especially with your boss, is never easy. However, it can assist you in focusing on what is best for your own mental well-being, which will benefit the company.
They will have the tools and resources to inform you about what the workplace has to offer. Many workplaces provide programmes such as counselling to assist you in getting through these trying times. Take the time to explain how you manage your professional and personal lives to a friend, co-worker, or family member. Don't be afraid to express your worries and concerns. The vast majority of people are going through the same thing and are unsure how to discuss it with others. If you're feeling disconnected from your co-workers, try to find a way to reach out to them. When you are able to express your emotions, your thoughts become clearer.
Encourage Mentoring and Peer Support
People sometimes find it easier to talk to people who aren't their superiors. Outside of the line management system, peer supporters would allow employees to support one another. This would provide a safe environment for someone to address any concerns they may have concerned their mental health. Implementing an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or a Health Cash Plan might be quite beneficial. This will make it easier for employees to access health benefits while also providing a safe environment for them to discuss issues.
To summarise, a positive company culture can have a significant impact on mental health. This year has brought significant change to many organisations, affecting how we grow and experience culture. However, by focusing on these areas, you may help to create a workplace that prioritises mental health.
These small steps can make a big difference in reducing stress, building resilience, and improving your mental health in the workplace.
If you need to seek help or advice regarding mental health or if you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Whatever you're going through, you can call them any time, from any phone for FREE. Call 116 123.