Is Your Workplace Mentally Healthy?
Written by Hiam Sakakini
A mentally healthy workplace is the responsibility of all.
According to a recent report conducted by Beyond Blue found that 91% of Australians believe that mental health in the workplace is important. Despite this, only 52% believe their workplace is actually mentally healthy which Beyond Blue defines as “one that protects and promotes mental health and empowers people to seek help for depression and anxiety, for the benefit of the individual, organisation and community.”
At The Culture Equation, we talk a lot about the future of work and the age of automation. It brings both exciting and difficult times with the amount of changes that it will procure. In the digital age, one particular thing that has arisen and situated itself so comfortably (albeit quite sneakily) into our lives, is the way digital technology has blurred the line between work and life whether it be the numerous apps on our phones or seemingly endless email notifications. We always seemed to be switched on and with this, comes expectations that it continues to stay that way.
This blurred line between work and life that the digital age has brought upon us needs to be addressed. These expectations to always be switched on only leads to 1 in 2 Australian employees believing that their workplace is mentally healthy. It is one thing to state that you want your team to thrive but what steps are you taking to ensure this? When you say ‘thrive’ – what exactly does that mean? Does it just mean consistently exceeding Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) expectations? Performance?
Whatever it may be and as important as all of the above factors are… ensuring the mental happiness of your employees should always remain one of the top priorities. Psychological safety is of paramount significance.
Why invest in mental health happiness at work?
- It is important to employees
Instead of being proactive… if leaders are vulnerable and genuine where they openly discuss and address the importance of mental health, it will create a secure work environment. Employees will feel supported and valued, creating respectful bonds between other which ultimately will lead to increased productivity.
- Reduced absenteeism rates
BeyondBlue found that employees who consider their workplaces to be mentally unhealthy were four times more likely to take time off work in comparison to those who consider their workplaces to be mentally healthy. 59% of the employees who consider their workplaces to be mentally unhealthy thus develop symptoms of depression and anxiety and because of the negative culture, they are unlikely to seek support and help.
So what measures can we take to ensure a mentally healthy workplace?
According to a study conducted by the National Institute of Health, incorporating mindfulness has been proven to significantly boost both happiness and productivity levels. Here at The Culture Equation, mindfulness is something that we like incorporating in our workplace to ensure our collective mental happiness.