Everyone has a role in creating mentally healthy workplaces.
No matter the size of your business, your budget, whether you’re just getting started or well on the way to creating a mentally healthy workplace, there are simple steps you can take to improve mental health and wellbeing in your workplace that aren’t costly or time-consuming.
You might not be able to see mental ill-health, or how it impacts the lives of the people you work with - but work to make your workplace more mentally healthy and you’ll see the benefits.
Take action to make your workplace more mentally healthy.
Ensure workers have role clarity and know who they report to. This will give them a better understanding of their day-to-day tasks, and support their professional development. Other actions that can help: create a positive and inclusive culture, monitor workload, support colleagues.
Connect workers to support, or provide services such as wellbeing checks and counselling, and use evidence-informed tools and resources to help managers and workers stay mentally healthy. Find out more about interventions that work and how to connect to and provide support.
Where possible, give workers more control over the ways they work. This may include the ability to work remotely or from offices closer to home, and flexible work hours or start and finish times. Find out more about how you can use good work design to support your mental health or that of your team. Read how Westpac has benefitted from offering their workforce greater flexibility.
Good social support from managers and co-workers, including peer-support or health champions where workers are empowered to promote positive behaviour and trained to recognise early signs of mental ill-health and connect to support, can help people feel supported, seek help early and reduce absence from work.
Design work to prevent or reduce the impact of factors on mental health, such as excessive job demands and low control over workers’ roles. Work design includes actions like flexible work conditions, reasonable work adjustments, clear job descriptions and monitoring workload. You can talk to your workers in regular one on one meetings or through discussions at team meetings. Find out more about how you can use good work design to support mental health and wellbeing at work.
Monitor workloads in regular one-one-one meetings with your workers and check in to make sure they are not having to work excess hours to get their work done. Encourage workers to also discuss workloads at team meetings so tasks can be shared fairly and based on capacity. Check roles for good work design and clear job descriptions. Adjust work to be mentally healthy, with realistic work schedules, flexibility where possible, and adjust roles or tasks to support recovery at work and roster to prevent fatigue.
Offer mental health training so everyone feels confident and capable to support people with mental ill-health or illness, and refer to appropriate services when needed. Mental health training can increase managers’ and workers’ mental health awareness and knowledge, improve attitudes and self-care, reduce stigma and encourage supportive behaviour. Find out more about training available.
Walk the talk and treat all workers with dignity and respect. Make sure all workers follow your lead, create opportunities for them to safely and discreetly report disrespectful behaviour to management. Being treated and treating others with respect are key to both a positive and inclusive culture and a mentally healthy workplace.
Workers at all levels should promote a positive and inclusive workplace culture and be encouraged to participate in making decisions about their work – for example, through surveys, discussions and workshops. Review your policies, processes and communications to support a positive and inclusive culture.
Taking action at the early signs of mental ill-health is linked with better recovery. To support people to act or seek support it’s important to create an environment where they feel safe and comfortable to speak up. This includes ensuring workers, and managers in particular, are trained to recognise early signs of mental ill-health, know how to be supportive and connect people with appropriate support. Do you know someone who may need support now? Find out how to start a conversation with resources from Heads Up and R U OK?
Working can promote mental health and recovery from mental ill-health or illness, and supporting your workers is good for your business. For the best results, use evidence-informed interventions tailored to the needs of the worker.
Promote mental health and wellbeing in your workplace with discussions at team meetings, opportunities for physical and social activity, events like RUOK? Day, internal communications, access to tools and resources and training peer supporters or mental health champions.
Formal or informal rewards, recognition or acknowledgement of the efforts and achievements of your workers can support mental health and wellbeing. This also includes career or development opportunities and improved job security.
Learn how other factors including life events or factors from outside the workplace, can impact mental health at work.