Last week was Mental Health Week and it had us thinking… is anyone ever really okay all of the time? Of course not, and you know what – It’s Okay to NOT be Okay.

In our working lives, we end up spending about as much time with our colleagues as we do with our loved ones, and while we are instinctively there for our loved ones, can the same be said for our work relationships?

As employers, it is important to create a workplace that promotes mental health and wellbeing of employees. By creating this, business’s benefit from having staff that are more engaged, productive and present. Research from Pricewaterhouse Coopers revealed that for every $1 spent on creating a mentally health workplace on average results in $2.30 return on investment. It just makes sense to be protecting your most important assets, your employees. Surprisingly 90% of employees believe mentally healthy workplaces are important, but only 50% believe their workplace is mentally healthy.

So how do you create a mentally healthy workplace?

By no means is this a one-way street.

Let’s start with Employees:

  • You need to take care of yourself (physically, mentally and emotionally)
    • If you work in an office, my tip would be: try and go outside for your lunchbreak or walk around the block and eat lunch in the park.
    • Exercise and Diet: what you put in, you get out. Don’t ever underestimate these two.
    • Mentally: Headspace has an app, with short meditation videos. You will be surprised how much just doing a few deep breaths can you turn your mood around. Try and visualise something in your life you are truly grateful for. Often it is too easy to focus on the negatives.
  • Work can be stressful at times (workload, deadlines, culture)
    • Where possible, limit your overtime (a burnt-out employee isn’t helpful to anyone)
    • Manage your workflow and set realistic deadlines
    • Speak up – your employer isn’t a mind reader, keep the lines of communication with your manager and/or supervisor open.
    • Don’t skip breaks (lunch breaks are designed to break up your day, allowing you to refocus for the afternoon)
    • Keep work at work
      • My tip: avoid having emails on your phone if you can.
    • Book Annual Leave in advance
      • Having holiday planned or taking a long weekend to recharge and reset is great for you and your boss.
    • Remember your employer is human too.

Now Employers:

Being an employer is no easy task! You are literally working 24/7. Your responsibilities are endless and unlike employees when you walk out the door, the job follows you.

The amount of stress involved to run a business and juggle the day-to-day can put immense pressure on you and your family relationships.

Just like employees,

  • You need to take care of yourself (physically, mentally and emotionally)
    • Your health is just as important as the health of your employees. You are the reason these employees can pay their rent and mortgages, remember that. Remember, it’s okay to say no. Your employees will thank you for this, a burnt-out boss is no good for anyone.
  • Work can be stressful at times (workload, deadlines, culture)
    • Follow the tips to lower the stress levels offer to employees above
  • Promote Social Events and Support
    • Let’s face it the ‘work’ you vs the ‘home’ you are too very different people. Take your team out for staff drinks, or a team picnic.  Having social events with staff is great for culture.
  • Obtain Buy-In/Commitment
    • A mentally healthy workplace doesn’t happen overnight or on its own. It takes time and commitment. Ensure all business owners and staff have a shared commitment to creating a healthy work environment for everyone. This is not a set and forget.
  • Heads Up is a great website for employers – they offer great resources to help develop an action plan for you and your team

If you would like more information on a mentally healthy workplace, head to the Heads-Up website - https://www.headsup.org.au/ or Beyond Blue (https://www.beyondblue.org.au)

Each fortnight the team at Mulcahy & Co donate to a charity of our choice. For the month of October, our donations will be made towards those charities that promote mental health awareness.