Creating good workplaces for the mind
Creating mentally healthy workplaces involves promoting wellbeing for staff, tackling work related mental health problems and supporting staff experiencing mental health problems.
There are a number of practical ways employers can improve working conditions, which needn’t be costly. Small, inexpensive measures can make a huge difference. One such intervention which won’t break the bank is a Wellness Action Plan - available free of charge from Mind’s website. Jointly drawn up by managers and staff, this tool identifies what helps people stay well at work as well as specific symptoms, triggers and support needs and agreed solutions. These person-centred, tailored plans can be very effective as they recognise the fluctuating nature of mental health problems and the way mental health affects everyone differently. Even more importantly, they can facilitate constructive and supportive conversations about managing mental ill health.
Ensure every member of staff has clearly outlined roles and responsibilities; and that their workload is manageable and targets achievable. Regular communication between managers and line reports is important, particularly for staff working remotely and/or in isolation. Having frequent meetings creates the space for employees to discuss any issues they are facing and develop methods to tackle these problems. The physical workspace is also hugely important as lighting, temperature and greenery all play a role in how we feel.
There has been a quiet revolution around the water cooler as employers increasingly acknowledge the impact of mental health on their staff. This is in part due to the positive impact of anti-stigma campaigns like Time to Change, run by Mind and Rethink Mental Illness. We’ve seen over 350 organisations demonstrate their commitment to supporting the wellbeing of their staff by signing the Time to Change organisational pledge. In recognition of some of the positive steps being made in this arena, later this year we will launch a Workplace Wellbeing Index, enabling employers to celebrate the good work they’re doing to promote staff mental wellbeing and get the support they need to be able to do this even better, and encourage other organisations to follow suit.