How to look after mental wellbeing at your organisation

21 July 2021

Looking after mental health and wellbeing in your organisation is a crucial part of ensuring a healthy workplace and a stronger, more productive team. 

The end of the financial year is a very stressful time, and with the Lifeline Stress Down Day coming up we thought this would be the perfect time to go over how to keep a happy and healthy workplace environment. Having a positive workplace environment not only benefits employees as they feel relaxed and safe but also the organisation as when employees are their happiest and healthiest they do their best work.

We have gathered all the information you need to know about what causes workplace stress, why it’s important and how to address it to improve your organisation’s mental wellbeing.

What causes workplace stress?

There are a lot of factors that contribute to workplace stress, everyone is different, and not everyone copes with stress the same. This is why it is important to know heavily contributing factors of stress in workplaces so your organisation can start implementing small improvements now.

Some heavy contributors are;

  • Lack of support, not having someone to go to for help at work can cause a lot of stress as employees feel alone. 
  • Unrealistic expectations, leadership having unrealistic expectations of employees can cause stress as employees feel like they are failing when they don’t meet expectations. 
  • Lack of communication, not being able to talk and have tough conversations can cause things to escalate and create stressful situations. 
  • Lack of recognition, not acknowledging achievements in the workplace can leave employees feeling taken for granted. 
  • Poor Leadership, without strong guidance employees, can be left feeling unsure.

There are many more contributing factors for stress in the workplace so it is important to continuously open the conversation to find out what is not working well in your organisation. Some signs of stress to look out for in colleagues at your organisation are; fatigue, lack of concentration and increased frustration.

Why is mental wellbeing important in an organisation?

Looking after mental wellbeing in your organisation is extremely important as individuals who experience mental health problems can lose productivity in your organisation and it can lead to further problems which can impact their quality of life. According to the State of Workplace Mental Health in Australia report (PDF) only 52% of employees believe their workplace is mentally healthy, therefore it has never been more important to assess your organisation’s mental wellbeing. 

Improving mental wellbeing in your organisation is the best way to ensure your employees are able to do their jobs to the best of their ability. Having a positive work environment also will help to keep dedicated employees in your organisation to help save money on costly recruitment. 

An organisation’s ability to provide a mentally healthy environment is a true test of how much that organisation goes beyond words and virtue signalling to actually and truly valuing its people.

Lee Jones, Group CEO.

Creating a healthy and happy work environment has positive impacts on not only everyone that works for your organisation but your organisation as well.

What strategies can be put in place?

It is important to have a short-term strategy in place to get immediate action to improve things in your workplace. Short-term strategies can also help contribute to long-term improvements you want to make.

Short Term

Some immediate short term strategies you could put in place to start improving the mental health of employees in your organisation are;

  • Open up regular communication between leadership and employees

Opening up regular communication between leadership and employees you can start to build positive relationships where both individuals feel comfortable to talk about anything that might be troubling them. This will help leadership to stay on top of issues in order to address them to create the best possible work environment.

  • Start acknowledging achievements and providing encouragement

Acknowledging others achievements in your organisation is the best way to encourage them to keep working hard. When people feel valued at work they are more likely to strive to do their best and remain loyal to their organisation.

  • Introduce activities

Introducing activities like sports in the workplace is a great way to take a break and also improve teamwork. Regular activities in the workplace also encourage people to look after their physical health and increase endorphins which are good for mental wellbeing.

Long Term

Some long term strategies you could put in place to improve the mental health of employees in your organisation are;

  • Implement a strategy that encourages regular self-care to prevent burnout

It is important that after you make small improvements to your organisation’s mental wellbeing in the office that you also take the time to create a long-term strategy to prevent anyone from burning out at work. The best way to ensure your strategy caters to everyone is to allow others to have their say and modify it to suit their own needs. For example, a long-term strategy to prevent burnout might be to get everyone to create Professional Development Plans (PDP’s) this will allow you to create documentation on how you can best assist each person to reach their full potential in your organisation while looking after their mental wellbeing.

  • Create a strategy to look after employees health during a change like Covid 19

Creating a strategy to ensure you are able to look after members of your organisation during stressful times like Covid-19 is extremely important as this pandemic has affected many individuals’ mental health after being isolated. Having a strong strategy outlined for difficult times will help members of your organisation to know they can reach out and receive support if needed.

  • Encourage breaks for all members of your organisation

A great long-term strategy to ensure all members of the organisation receive some downtime to disconnect from work is to encourage regular breaks. It is important that members of your organisation feel like they can ask for time off so they can live their lives and feel fresh at work. 

If not all members of your organisation have adequate leave it is still important to keep encouraging breaks, therefore make sure people know they are able to and encouraged to leave their desk and go for a short walk or a coffee to reset in stressful situations.

How to continue reviewing and monitoring your strategy 

After implementing strategies to improve your organisation’s mental wellbeing it is important that you continue to monitor and review them to ensure they continue working. By updating and reviewing your strategy it will also become easier to identify improvements that need to be made to better the impact on your organisation. 

Remember that not every strategy will work with every employee so continuing to review it and communicate with members of your organisation will ensure every colleague feels catered for and included. By continuously communicating with everyone at your organisation to review and improve your mental wellbeing strategy you are reminding everyone how important their mental health is and that you are a team who will work together to tackle anything big or small making you a stronger organisation.

It is crucial to your organisation’s success that you implement a mental wellbeing strategy, the better you look after your employee’s mental health the better they will feel about coming to work and putting in their best effort to achieve all your organisation’s goals.