Health and Wellbeing in the Workplace

Often overlooked, a crucial component of running a successful business is managing the mental health and wellbeing of employees and fulfilling the obligation a workplace has to cultivate a supportive environment. This article will discuss the benefits of creating a safe holistic workspace for your team and outline exactly where to start implementing positive processes in order to develop and maintain overall wellbeing.

It’s important to note that creating a workplace that delivers adequate support for its employees is less about solving people’s problems and more focused on ongoing communication and directing your team to the appropriate channels that will best assist them to thrive

1.       How can employee mental health affect a business if not properly addressed?

With billions of dollars a year lost due to absenteeism, compensation and staff turnover worldwide, ensuring the overall health and wellbeing of staff members has a direct impact on the profitability of a business. This is especially important when addressing work-life balance. According to an OfficeVibe poll, 60% of employees observe their job takes a toll on their personal life, which inevitably translates over time to a decrease in productivity, an increase in staff turnover and thus money spent on hiring and training, as well as the time taken off work due to unmanaged stress.

2.       Top tips from our business experts on creating ongoing support

While there are OH&S obligations for each industry to provide a safe work environment, creating ongoing support can be achieved through regular communication from the top down to ensure all members of a team have a safe space to voice concerns, and seek support if needed. Helpful tips to ensure early intervention of potential mental health issues can be as simple as taking notice of behavioural changes in staff, their demeanor, email tone or their overall mood – these indicators can provide an opportunity to check in with someone and hear what might be concerning them, thus providing insight into how the business could help. Implementing processes that encourage employees to exercise, take mental health days without the need for a certificate and provide a flexible working environment can be simple strategies to create a supportive culture.

3.       Business resources

Having your team fill out a survey to gather insight on their wellbeing is a great place to determine which areas need improvement, services like Heads Up and Headspace are excellent resources to guide you through creating a holistic culture, as well as short courses to educate leaders through organisations like Mental Health First Aid Australia.

4.       The benefits

Increasing the attainability of work life balance, wellbeing activities and consistent support from the top down helps to prevent poor mental health among a team. As a result, business owners would most likely see an increase in staff retention and productivity as well as a reduction in absenteeism and turnover. This translates to greater profitability long term and an overall positive workplace experience.

If a team member does come to you and share that they’re struggling, listen and support them without judgment. Together you can discuss ways in which you might generate a solution. Sometimes, managers avoid the issue of mental health, because they mistakenly believe that their responsibility would be to solve all their team members’ problems. Rather, your responsibility as a leader is to guide that person to seek out the help they need.