- Job insecurity, bullying, work-related insomnia and inflexible work arrangements are the top work-related causes of mental health problems.
- Ensure staff are aware of existing resources to support their wellbeing.
- If you don’t know how to tackle workplace “psychological hazards”, bring in experts to help.
1. Understand where you stand
Feeling respected and that you can speak up without negative consequences contributes to a psychologically safe workplace for employers and employees alike.
The first step to a thriving environment is to “diagnose” your employees’ current experiences. It’s helpful to know what’s already working and the areas for improvement.
Safe Work Australia and WorkSafe New Zealand have online resources that outline an employer’s duties under workplace health and safety law, and ways to promote employees’ mental wellbeing. These are a good base on which to understand your own company’s policies.
2. Promote the support you offer
Make sure you are promoting any wellbeing and employee support you already have within the organisation. Whether at an induction for new employees, during team catch-ups or through other channels, regular communication is vital.
Ask leaders within the organisation about their strategies for dealing with mental wellbeing. Make sure employees are aware of independent support, such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), that provide a safe place to speak about any issues they may have in a private setting.
“Mental health and safety is a shared responsibility… how you turn up to work will have a significant impact on your colleagues.”
3. Address any issues
Job insecurity, bullying, work-related insomnia and lack of flexible working arrangements are the top four work-related causes of mental health issues. Other issues include discrimination, stigma, violence and sexual harassment.
Employers must intervene on any behaviour that can put workers at risk, but the culture of a workplace also is important.
Modelling good behaviour from management down may prevent most of these issues from occurring in the first place.
Remember that mental health and safety is a shared responsibility. How you turn up to work will have a significant impact on your colleagues.
It’s a dual responsibility that you look out for each other. If there’s a bully, you don’t just turn a blind eye. You’re creating a culture where people can speak up and do so safely.
4. Bring in help
If you don’t know how to tackle workplace “psychological hazards”, bring in experts to assist. Organisations such as SuperFriend can educate leaders within the workplace and help identify what’s working well and the next steps for improvements.
Creating a psychologically safe work environment is not only an obligation under the work, health and safety laws, it is good for business and of course the people who work in your business.