While it’s important that businesses stay up to date with health and safety regulations to protect the physical health of their employees, it’s equally important to identify ways to support employees’ mental health and well-being.
According to Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws, it is important to implement the following steps to manage risks and continue keeping employees safe:
Step 1: Identify psychosocial hazards
Step 2: Assess risks
Step 3: Control risks
Step 4: Review hazards and control measures
In a 2019 Mental Health at Work Report by Harvard Business Review1, 60% of respondents reported symptoms of a mental health condition in the past year, and the most commonly desired workplace mental health resources were a more open and accepting culture, clearer information about where to go or whom to ask for support, and training.
Here, we’ve outline five additional ways organisations can support the mental health of employees:
1. Ensure all levels of management model healthy behaviours.
Don’t just say you support mental health, take steps to ensure it is modelled through all levels of management. Have managers set boundaries and share when they are prioritising self-care and wellbeing so that team members feel they can do the same.
2. Prioritise checking in with your people to build a culture of connection.
After a turbulent couple of years, it’s more important than ever for managers to intentionally check in with team members, particularly if you have remote or hybrid working arrangements in place. Going beyond a simple “how are you?”, waiting for a full answer, and really listening will help to build a culture of connection.
3. Offer flexibility where practical.
As our unique situations continue to evolve, so do the needs of our people. Open, two-way communication ensures that you’re ready to help problem-solve at any transition points or as issues arise. Taking a proactive, personalised approach to addressing change not only helps you get ahead of any issues, but helps your people feel heard.
4. Invest in proactive mental health training.
Prioritising proactive workplace mental health training is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to supporting the mental health of your employees, while also equipping them with the necessary skills to have productive conversations about mental health at work. If you don’t have the budget to invest in training, mental health employee resource groups are a low-cost way to increase awareness, build community and offer peer support.
5. Ensure your people know where to go if they are experiencing difficulties with their mental health.
Provide staff with a point of contact to discuss potential concerns and access important workplace information. Refer workers to employee assistance programs for further help and support and ensure they’re aware they can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 for 24/7 Crisis Support.
For more information on mental health and how you can support your team throughout this uncertain time, visit the following websites:
For everything you need to create a healthy and safe work environment visit
www.winc.com.au or call 13 26 44 to speak to a specialist.
1Mind Share Partners, 2019, ‘Mind Share Partners’ Mental Health at Work 2019 Report’, <https://www.mindsharepartners.org/mentalhealthatworkreport>