“If you’re at work and see somebody struggling, say something. Ask them ‘How are you?’ and offer to take them out for a coffee. If you think you’re struggling, say something. It’s not a once-off conversation — it’s a cultural shift that takes time.”David Titeu
A seemingly never-ending pandemic, unchecked inflation and the hint of a new recession are taking its toll on employees’ mental health. It’s imperative that we maintain the right work-life balance to increase the overall quality of our lives. Work-life balance is essential, as is encouraging employees to take regular breaks and permit flexible working hours to contribute to employee morale.
According to a study released by the University of South Australia, Australian companies lose $6 billion per year because of poor psychological safety at work. Due to the stigma surrounding mental health and a lack of understanding about how to support individuals, a majority of employees are not confident that they can discuss this matter with their colleagues.
Signs of poor mental health in the office:
- Communication and interaction changes. In general, one may observe a lack of interest, withdrawal from the workplace, and/or a struggle to perform at an appropriate level.
- There has been a change in physical behaviour. The following characteristics can often be identified as indicators of this condition: low energy or fatigue, headaches, or difficulty sleeping.
How to promote well-being at work:
Supporting employee mental health has many benefits, but where do you begin?
- Promote a healthy lifestyle. This may include free massages, yoga classes, or fitness workshops. Organise (and participate) group activities such as walking meetings or exercise challenges.
- Offer flexibility. Work-life balance and burnout can be alleviated if workplace flexibility allows employees to work when and where they want. In our previous blog, we discussed the benefits of workplace flexibility and the importance of fostering a positive, supportive work environment.
- Define objectives and develop a plan for achieving them. Encourage everyone to share their ideas and initiatives and seek their input on how to achieve these goals.
- Check in regularly with employees to determine how they are doing and their needs. This may help reduce stress and allow them to open up, or at least inform them that they have someone they can turn to if they need assistance.
Organisations need to increase awareness in order to create a more inclusive and supportive work environment. It is vital for employers to understand how mental health issues affect their employees and are more open to providing them with mental health support.
Participate in walking meetings, host team challenges, and remind them about any wellness and lifestyle perks included in their benefits package. Demonstrate a work-life balance and take time for your own mental health. Make sure your team knows that their mental health doesn’t have to be sacrificed for their productivity. Remember it’s okay not to be okay.