How to Champion Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace
Given that we spend most of our time at the office, it’s hardly surprising that workplace culture, processes and people all have an impact on our mental wellbeing. In turn, the state of our mental health can also have either a positive or negative impact on our productivity and ability to deliver results.
According to recent statistics published by Mind – the mental health charity that participated in our recent workplace mental health management series throughout the country – 60 percent of employees say that they would feel more motivated and more likely to recommend their organisation as a good place to work if their employer took action to support mental wellbeing.
For these reasons, it is vitally important that employers prioritise mental wellbeing in the workplace!
Getting senior leaders on board
The way you manage and support staff who are experiencing a mental health problem can be key in shaping how they cope and recover. Your organisation should provide training on mental health and stress management – including how to spot the signs and how to have supportive conversations with staff. Managers should also be given clear guidelines for managing mental health issues to encourage and support positive manager behaviours.
Top tips for managers
Below, we outline 9 top tips from Mind on how managers can champion mental wellbeing in the workplace.
1. Lead by example
Send a clear message to your staff that their wellbeing matters. Actively encourage your team to adopt healthier working habits by working sensible hours, taking full lunch breaks, taking annual leave and resting and recuperating after busy periods.
2. Build your confidence on mental health
Familiarise yourself with your organisation’s mental health policies and practices and the ways staff can seek confidential advice and support. Routinely publicise internal and external support pathways to staff.
3. Normalise mental health
Touch base regularly with your employees to check how they’re getting on and think about what might be causing them stress. Create space for them to ask questions and raise issues, and give them permission to talk about home as well as work issues if they wish.
4. Take stock
Include an agenda item at team meetings to together discuss people’s wellbeing and what factors are affecting this. A planning session can look at the issues in detail and develop a team action plan to address these. If the organisation runs a staff survey, this could form the basis of the discussion. This will normalise conversations about mental health and help staff think more about their own and colleagues’ mental health and what factors can affect this.
5. Be available to your staff
Regular one-to-ones and catch-ups can help maintain good working relationships and build mutual trust. Managers should also help staff to manage workloads – by ensuring work is clearly defined, by communicating expectations clearly, and by agreeing reasonable deadlines with individual staff members.
6. Treat people as individuals
Treat employees with respect, praise good work, offer support if there are skills gaps and try to use a coaching style of management. Listen to your staff and flex your management style to suit the needs of each team member and task. Ask for feedback about the support you provide and what support they need to help them achieve their goals.
7. Embed employee engagement
Promote a culture of open dialogue and involve employees in decisions about how the team is run and how they do their job. Empower staff by using a management style that allows them to be autonomous while ensuring they still feel supported. Make sure employees understand their role in the bigger picture and make clear their contribution to the organisation’s vision and aims.
8. Create opportunities for coaching, learning and development
Make sure employees are confident, well equipped and supported to do their job to a high standard. You can help them gain confidence and skills by developing and rewarding their capabilities and by being available for regular work-related conversations as well as providing formal training.
9. Promote positive work relationships
Support a culture of teamwork, collaboration and information-sharing both within the team and across the organisation and role model these positive behaviours to staff. For example, feeding back as soon as someone does good work (rather than waiting until the next scheduled one-to-one meeting) can develop a culture of praise which helps staff feel their efforts are recognised and keeps lines of communication open.
You can find out more information on how to champion mental wellbeing in the workplace here.
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