We spend more time at work and those who we work with than at home. With that said, mental health and the well-being of employees should be a top priority for all organizations.
Here is our guide to the 7 ways to improve mental well-being in the workplace.
1. Identifying the CULTURE in your workplace
Saying you care about the mental health of your team and acting like you care about the mental health of your team are two very different things. While most organizations care about the well-being of their teams, what we’re starting to see is that the subconscious impact of their actions don’t always reflect that.
Does your environment celebrate working overtime and being pushed beyond your limits? Or, do you celebrate employees prioritizing their health and well-being?
Deepening the awareness of the current culture is a crucial first step.
2. Leaders Set the Tone
One time an employee of mine requested to meet. When she arrived at the meeting her timid, nervous energy was very apparent. She began to explain a complicated personal matter that was causing her a tremendous amount of stress and frustration. It was evident that this situation was having a negative impact on her well-being. After attentively listening to her circumstances I asked,
“How would you feel about taking some time off?”
Immediately, her posture relaxed and a shocked looked came across her face, “You would be ok with that?” she asked.
“Of course! It’s important for you to take care of yourself right now”.
She questioned, “But it’s our busiest time of year?”
Reassuring her I said, “I know, but don’t worry, we’ll take care of it.”
She then proceeded to thank me and said during her 10 years in this industry never had she experienced this type of concern and care from a manager.
The moral of this story is that leaders set the tone. How approachable are you as a leader? Would your colleagues feel comfortable coming to you with this type of concern? What would your reaction be to this type of situation?
Educate leaders on how to help and support people experiencing mental health issues.
3. Escape the Day-to-Day TRAP
One of the biggest problems I see when working with clients is they are too stuck in the day-to-day trap. Putting out fires, dealing with daily crises, long meetings and too many emails often keep us stuck and focused on the mundane details.
When working with teams, I am always surprised how few organizations take a moment to pause and look at their business from a meta-view.
A meta-view is the big picture or big perspective. Analyze your business as an annual cycle. What are the ebbs and flow? What seasons are busier than others? What is the rhythm of the year?
After asking these questions, you can create wellness activities around this schedule which segues to my next point…
4. Make it a TEAM Effort
Showing employees that you support mental health is a direct way to improve wellness in the workplace. An effective way to do this is by creating a Team Engagement Committee. This committee can include representatives from all departments, and all levels of management. Their purpose can be to create an annual program that supports team building, mental health, wellness and employee engagement.
TIP: Instead of guessing, ASK your team what programming and support they need to feel supported by their organization.
5. Communicaaaaaaaaaate (said with Oprah’s pronunciation)
“ The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it has taken place”
– George Bernard Shaw
According the World Health Organization, one of the top organizational issues influencing the mental health of employees is poor communication.
Each one of us has our own unique style and preference for communicating. Rarely are we aligned with our significant others let alone colleagues in the ways in which we communicate. Being a great leader (remember: each person is a leader, regardless of their title), means taking initiative to ensure you are communicating effectively with the people you work with.
6. Black and White
Creating policy that supports mental health is imperative. In the past, I have implemented “No Gossip” policies and every single organization today should have a clear “No Harassment” policy.
Support your team by ensuring your policies and procedures support the well-being of your team and ensure they’re reviewed annually.
7. Khalid said it best
Can we just talk?
Talking about mental health helps to overcome the stigma attached to it. The more comfortable we become talking about it, the greater our impact can be to create positive change.
If you live in Canada and need mental health support please visit:
Inquiry: What can I do to improve our organizational mental health?
What is an inquiry?
Inquiry-based learning is a form of active learning. Often posed at the end of the coaching session, it is meant to give clients time for continued reflection and exploration. Simply, it is a question to ponder.