How to create a mentally-healthy work environment: Part One

How to create a mentally-healthy work environment: Part One

Workplaces are full of stressors and challenges, with ever-increasing pressures on the modern manager to be able to effectively monitor and control the Wellbeing and happiness of their team. The most effective way a manager can influence the environment is by setting policies and procedures at a top level, following through plans made and actioning interventions accordingly.

This two-part article is intended to help you to create a workplace beneficial to Mental Health [herein referred to as MH] and Wellbeing [herein referred to as WB], without overcomplicating and using excessive jargon. Let’s jump in.

Acknowledge and place the utmost value on Mental Health [MH] & Wellbeing [WB] as pillars of your organisation

MH and WB in the workplace are rightly treated with sensitivity, but it is important to openly acknowledge the subject and implement appropriate procedures concerning both (as opposed to being overly protective with your approach). Ultimately people need to feel comfortable discussing how they feel without fear of reprimand or any kind of stigma, instead receiving positive outcomes. That’s not to say everyone should be encouraged to overshare on deeply personal matters; put simply your teams should feel comfortable with letting management know when they need a helping hand.

This is somewhat of a balancing act. Policies need to support everyone overall, while at the same time prioritising the conversations that matter with those who are in need, at the right time. One way govox helps with this is by highlighting your team’s Happiness Score overall, while the Red Flags show areas where individuals may need a little attention from their most recent Check In.

At each level of management, it is sensible to designate MH champions or a ‘dream team’ of people that will be responsible for reviewing company policy and creating a healthy workplace culture. It’s important to make sure interventions are evidence-based, with suitable KPIs set up to track this (for example the Happiness Score).

“Regular staff surveys and other research to build data about staff mental health, using findings to plan and deliver action and inform workplace policies. Recognise and celebrate the impact of existing employee benefits and corporate social responsibility activities on the mental health and wellbeing of staff.”

Mental Health Foundation

Nurture managers into championing positive MH and WB practices

This can be approached in two ways: either nominate individuals at varying levels of management with your organisation, or preferably seek volunteers as they’re more likely to remain engaged. Once you have your personnel selected, it’s absolutely vital to give them all the training and support they need to do an effective job. Looking after MH and WB is no walk in the park, though its importance can never be understated.

Further to nurturing the key individuals involved, resources need to be made available to management and all staff within the organisation. Some examples are access to HR professionals, Occupational Health teams and a tool to measure the Mental Health and Wellbeing of your organisation too.

Stay tuned for part two soon!

References: Mental Health Foundation