The culture of a business plays a large role in setting the conditions that affect employees’ mental health. In turn, psychologically healthy workplaces can positively impact employee engagement, recruitment, and retention.
Below are some low cost, easy ways to create a work environment for employees that supports their mental health. These ideas are organized into three different strategies for creating a health workplace: Educate, Act and Support. Consider ideas from each of these approaches.
Provide opportunities for employees to learn more about mental health:
- Use bulletin boards to post information about various topics relating to healthy minds. Use fact sheets and information from the Educate section of Healthy Minds on the WellnessFits website.
- Include information on the importance of healthy minds in short articles for internal newsletters, staff e-mails, or pay cheque inserts.
- Organize information sessions for employees on how to maintain a healthy mind at work. Consider topics such as the value of laughter, yoga, time management, or stress management.
- Look out for national or provincial theme weeks and promote them (for example, Mental Health Week in May and Mental Illness Awareness Week in October). Use these theme weeks to start conversations about mental health and mental illness.
- Educate supervisors and managers about mental health in the workplace. Mental Health Works offers a variety of workshops, training, and tools for employers.
- Tell employees where they can learn more about mental health issues. There are many excellent resources available online, including the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division, Here to Help, Bounce Back, and Antidepressant Skills at Work.
Create opportunities for your employees to practice strategies that promote healthy minds at work:
- Organize or promote healthy minds challenges or events. WellnessFits offers a free Stress-Less Challenge. The goal of this challenge is to give employees an opportunity to adopt and practice a variety of easy strategies to help them reduce and manage stress.
- Provide goal-setting and coaching opportunities for employees to build skills.
- Promote your business’s support of volunteerism and opportunities for volunteering in the community.
Creating lasting positive change requires creating a work environment that supports your employees’ mental health and wellbeing:
The culture of an organization plays a large role in setting the conditions that affect employees’ mental health. As an employer, you can help build a psychologically healthy workplace for your employees and promote good mental health in your workplace.
- Ensure there is open and effective communication between you and your staff
- Promote work-life balance. Encourage employees to take their allotted vacation time, implement policies that promote flexibility within day-to-day work days, create a corporate culture that does not expect employees to respond to emails 24/7.
- Clearly define employees’ duties and responsibilities. Monitor workloads to ensure they’re not excessive. Ensure there is sufficient staff to do the work required. Make sure your employees have sufficient knowledge, training, skills and resources to do their jobs well. Allow staff to set their own priorities as much as possible and to have some control over their work day.
- Look into flexible work arrangements. Where possible include flexible schedules, compressed work weeks and telework.
- Encourage and reward employees who support and encourage others.
Interested in getting more tips and ideas for creating a healthy workplace? Visit wellnessfits.ca to learn more about our free WellnessFits small business program.