13 WAYS TO IMPROVE MENTAL HEALTH IN THE WORKPLACE

Author
J.R. Moody

Creating a mentally-tranquil workplace atmosphere has incredibly beneficial returns across the board. Employees who are mentally healthy as a result of employer efforts are far more likely to be productive, have higher morale, and make significant contributions to company growth and profitability. Simon Fraser University in Canada used extensive research and data review to identify 13 psychosocial risk (PSR) factors which impact employee mental health:

1. Psychological Support

Employers who cultivate at atmosphere of support among staff regarding psychological and mental health concerns can expect to see many overall benefits in the workplace. When there is perceivable, substantial psychological support at work, affected employees are more likely to actively seek and receive the help they need to recover. This leads to increased loyalty (commitment and attachment to their job), satisfaction, mood and demeanor, engagement in optional work activities, and quality of performance.

2. Organizational Culture

This refers to a work environment built upon trust, honesty, and fairness. Such an environment is attractive to potential hires, and creates a sense of loyalty for existing employees. Without it, employees are less likely to observe and commit to safety and health policies, and may avoid reporting hazardous conditions out of fear of retaliation or unfair treatment.

3. Clear Leadership and Expectations

Effective leadership often means giving employees clear, concise directives – they know what is expected of them, how they contribute to the business, and what changes are on the horizon. It also includes leadership showing a commitment to their own personal psychological health. Benefits of this factor include higher employee morale and trust, and decreased frustration and conflict.

4. Civility and Respect

To observe decreased emotional exhaustion, fewer health problems, and less conflict and job withdrawal, it’s important to foster a work environment in which employees are respectful to each other, clients, customers, and the public. The Civility and Respect factor observes the need for esteem, care, consideration, and the acknowledgement of dignity between all individuals.

5. Psychological Competencies and Requirements

This factor refers to how well an employee’s interpersonal and emotional competencies match with a particular position. Employees are more than money-makers; they are human individuals with their own unique psychological makeups which make them strong in some arenas, and stressed in another. Employees should be fitted to positions and responsibilities that reflect their strengths, as making unreasonable demands outside of their individual capacities can hurt both the employee and the business.

6. Growth and Development

An employer committed to workplace mental health will take part in its employees’ career growth. This is done through encouragement and support where the development of an employee’s skillset is concerned. Without the challenge of improvement, employees will become bored and complacent, causing their well-being and performance to suffer.

7. Recognition and Reward

It’s no surprise that recognition and reward can be major contributing factors to employee performance when provided in a fair and timely manner. Everyone appreciates having their efforts recognized and compensated fairly. Recognition leads to higher self-esteem and a motivation to go above and beyond the minimum requirements. Employees who are not appreciated by their leaders quickly lose confidence and trust, as they may feel there is little reason to excel if it’s perceived that no one cares.

8. Involvement and Influence

Employees who feel as though their suggestions and input are meaningful and taken seriously may be more engaged with higher morale and organizational pride. If a company fails to find ways to involve its employees in measurable ways, it may find a workforce littered with indifference, burnout, and cynicism.

9. Workload Management

Another surefire way to see employees throw their hands up in defeat is to ask for more than what is reasonable. A successful company knows the importance of delivering realistic goals – those which are achievable within the time frame allotted. Surprise deadlines are to be expected, but for the most part, employees should be able to attain the satisfaction that comes from clocking out on time having effectively met their daily goals.

10. Engagement

Employee engagement refers to being physically, emotionally, and/or cognitively engaged in one’s career. A profitable workforce has employees who make strong connections to the work they’re doing, whether it’s a matter of satisfying physical exertion, emotional commitment, or strong focus. These types of employees lead to customer satisfaction, higher morale, enhanced motivation, and proven increases to the bottom line.

11. Balance

Very rarely is an individual defined exclusively by their careers. Those on your payroll leave work to be with their families, foster friendships, and pursue personal hobbies. When work demands interfere with other aspects of an employee’s life, those aspects begin to suffer, and the resulting emotional turmoil can spill over into the workplace. That’s why it’s important to recognize the value of a work-life balance, and allow for it through compassion and flexibility.

12. Psychological Protection

When an employee knows their employer is committed to protecting their psychological health, it means know they can act in good faith without fear. If an employee fears retaliation as a result of requesting feedback, reporting problems, asking questions, or offering ideas, they will view their workplace as hostile and volatile. This will lead to stress-related illness, regulatory risks, and negligence.

13. Protection of Physical Safety

All businesses are required by law to provide a safe and healthful workplace. This means making a concerted effort to recognize and eliminate known or potential safety and health hazards, and equipping employees with the tools and skills they need to be safe. Such a commitment not only eliminates the fear of injury felt by undertrained and unprotected workers, but critically reduces the astronomical costs associated with workplace injuries and incidents.

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