Rethinking Mental Health in the Workplace
This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed many uncertainties in our life. Self-isolation, financial stress, and job insecurity have impacted the mental health of many people. It’s important for managers to recognise that these changes may have an increase in anxiety and stress to their employees when they are returning to the workplace. Moreover, making sure that your workspace has a COVID-19 Safety Plan is vital to make the back to work transition easier.
October 10th is World Mental Health Day and October is Mental Health Month – both focused on raising awareness in the community, and helping to remove the stigma of mental health.
At A1 Office, our aim is to create transformative workspaces which are productive and beautiful, while also placing an emphasis on staff wellness. Our team has come up with our top tips on how managers and employees can ease back into the workplace, with a stronger focus on mental health.
Educating managers about the signs of mental health challenges and training them to respond appropriately, encourages individuals to maintain good mental health practices. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a healthy workplace can be described as one where “workers and managers actively contribute to the working environment by promoting and protecting the health, safety and well-being of all employees.”
A few ways that managers can promote the importance of mental health to their staff include:
- Addressing negative workplace dynamics
- Offering programs and benefits that focus on mental health
- Frequently communicating and sharing information about policies, programs, resources and training.
Educating managers on raising awareness about mental health issues should also be addressed when educating themselves and employees.
Make wellness a priority
Wellness should always be made a priority, especially when returning to the workplace. Without a healthy work-life balance, productivity and motivation is likely to decline, rendering employees depleted and disengaged. Managers should encourage employees to engage in hobbies outside of work. This may include going to the gym, spending time with loved ones, participating in a mindful walk or taking time to care for themselves. Take a look at how the team at A1 Office have emphasised the importance of wellness in the workspace here. If individuals feel like they need further support with their mental health and well-being, please click here for support during COVID-19.
Psychologist/ physiotherapists on work sites
Offering psychologists and physiotherapists to come to the workplace on a regular basis will enhance employer productivity and benefit their overall mental health. Psychologists can offer employees treatment plans and therapeutic techniques. More so, The Australian Bureau of Statistics (2008), National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing indicates that “anxiety and depression are the most common mental health conditions experienced by people in Australia and tend to affect people during their prime working years (16 to 64 years).”
Managers can leverage an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to counteract this – allowing employees to access a handful of sessions for free. Companies need to actively be promoting these services to employees, to be able to improve employee’s mental health.
Likewise, physiotherapists on worksites are beneficial, as they have an in-depth understanding of the strains caused by poor working habits and any factors which could lead to the development of musculoskeletal problems.
Technology resources can enhance an individual’s mental health. Mobile applications such as Headspace and Smiling Mind can teach individuals how they can manage their anxiety. These applications both have a section dedicated to the workplace. Anonymous surveys are a tool when utilised correctly, can allow managers to gain a valuable understanding of their employee’s mental health. From this, they can then use the survey to bridge the gap between their perception of employee’s mental health and the reality. An example of technology being used to improve their employee’s well-being, is Virgin Pulse GO Fast Forward platform. The app features in-app tools and resources designed to help Virgin members to stay active and build healthy habits during COVID-19.
Embracing design in the workspace will also help to strengthen an employee’s mental health. Here are a range of ideas to incorporate in your workspace;
- Yoga breakout areas
- Gym workout areas
- Healthy, well-equipped kitchen
- Sunlight filled rooms
At A1 Office, our aim is to transform your workplace, while simultaneously creating designs that represent your business culture and support employee wellness. By doing so, we create beautiful and stylish spaces, which promote good mental health practices and allow for employee growth.
Get in contact with us today to help you identify how we can incorporate sustainable and empowering breakout spaces to promote mental health and well-being at your place of work.