• Abbey Baldacchino

How To Prioritise Mental health in the Workplace...

Having mentally healthy employees is an asset often underestimated. Avoidable mental health issues such as stress can greatly detriment employee efficiency, increase time spent away from work and increase staff turnover. Thus, it's safe to say making some effort to better the mental health of your staff can go a long way, but please for sake of humanity, don't just schedule a yoga class for your staff....they don't want it.

Here are 9 easy ways to help reduce employee stress and increase the calibre of your team:

  1. Encourage your employees to take small breaks from work and screens throughout the day, if this also involves being away from their phone it's a bonus! Pushing staff to take a 10-minute walk, grab a coffee or a drink of water can help to refresh their frame of mind, and interrupt whatever stressor they may be currently exposed to. Staff will come back a little calmer and ready to tackle their task head-on. Do this by: setting up a coffee station, ordering a coffee truck to work, bringing a fun snack in or simply sending an email to the team to remind them to take a break and move a little.

  2. Create a supportive team, rather than a competitive team. Employees that feel cared for and comforted by their colleagues are more likely to find support in the workplace when experiencing such stress. Do this by: Scheduling team activities, opportunities for bonding and socialisation. This could involve team drinks, meals out, trips, retreats or team-building exercises.

  3. Allow for easy communication with higher-ups. The ability to openly discuss and easily access managers and leaders of the company will allow employees to feel heard and supported by the company itself. This decreases potential resentment and has the potential to increase morale. Do this by: Including higher-ups in team activities and holding regular meetings with groups or -if time allows- individual employees.

  4. Offer regular growth opportunities so staff feel as though their development is a priority. If staff are invested in not only will they feel valued, but also will want to contribute more to the company and feel more equipped to perform their role, reducing workplace stress. Do this by: Providing consistent training programs and opportunities, allowing seminar or expo attendance on workdays and encouraging further education by covering some of the cost.

  5. Be flexible! Sometimes employees need to take a mental health day, leave a few hours early for an appointment or take a longer lunch, as an employer the more you give generally the more you get back. Employees that are able to take leave easily will feel more supported by their understanding workplace, rather than feeling locked in without the ability to tend to important things during work hours when they pop up. Do this by: Setting up an email system in which employees simply email to take leave and approval occurs within the hour or by being super understanding when an emergency pops up and a team member is needed elsewhere

  6. Provide flexible working arrangements, allowing staff to work from home or remotely if desired. This doesn't mean you need to cater to everything, but letting employees conduct a portion of their workweek from home or temporarily working from a travel destination will make them feel that they are so valued that you're willing to work around them. Employees that feel valued put more in. Do this by: Encouraging conversation and saying yes more.

  7. Create a calm and comfortable work environment. If your staff are spending 38 hours a week in your space, it better be conducive to their mental health, or else you're just asking for stressed employees. Do this by: Maintaining a clean space without clutter, in which each employee feels they are safe. Provide ergonomic desk and chairs, followed by working computers and enough physical room to get work done. Also add a little personality with some subtle decoration, like wall art or plants.

  8. Get a workplace pet. This could seem a bit unreasonable but an insane amount of studies have shown how animals in the workplace can drastically reduce stress. Do this by: I'm not necessarily saying you should adopt an animal to stay at the office, but allow members of the team to bring their pet in so everything can get a slide of the joy.

  9. Ensure each role is clearly defined by a strict description and measurable KPIs. When employees have a direction and aren't being constantly forced to pick up jobs outside of their job description they're more focused, driven and less stressed! Do this by: Having a one-on-one meeting with each employee to redefine their role relative to how it exists today and create achievable and effective goals and expectations. During this, ensure your staff are comfortable with their job description and KPIs and don't feel overwhelmed by their responsibilities.

Have you got a hot tip to reduce workplace stress that doesn't involve taking your employees to Byron Bay? Comment it below! We'd love to read it.

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