In the corporate work environment there is a lot of talk about work culture. Company culture posters often adorn walls, and HR departments plan company-wide events that are meant to build camaraderie amongst employees.
This type of work-hard-play-hard mentality can have a huge benefit on work culture, but at the same time, organisations should also make sure that they don’t lose sight in prioritising their employees’ mental health.
The truth is, the best companies often don’t focus solely on the superficial things like office decor and special events, they instead value creating an environment where people will want to come to work every day. This means focusing on more than just what makes CEOs comfortable or what shows up in the news.
When an organisation can create a work environment where people are willing to invest their best efforts, it will inevitably succeed and go further in the long run because there will be no need to coerce employees into doing good work, as they’ll already be striving for excellence.
UNHAPPY EMPLOYEES LEAVE COMPANIES
Your employees are your greatest asset, and a good company culture is paramount to the success of any organisation. Since our jobs can be stressful and draining at times, it is important that we maintain the right balance between work and our personal our lives to increase the overall quality of our lives.
A study from the University of Oxford found that happy workers are around 13% more productive than unhappy ones. So, when you make great efforts to make your team happy, not only will they reward you with increased productivity, they’re also more likely to stay with your business longer.
As an employer, you can reassure staff that they’re valued and appreciated by making them feel comfortable in the workplace. A good work-life balance goes a long way, and encouraging employees to take breaks during busy periods or allowing flexible work hours helps build morale.
As part of the effort to improve the lives of people who work hard every day, it has become increasingly common to see articles on improving workplace morale or bringing mindfulness into the office.
In addition to these efforts, prioritising mental health should be at the top of the list for businesses looking to truly invest in their employees’ wellbeing beyond just lip service.
This includes being aware about what constitutes an unhealthy work environment and finding ways in which you can make the office a happier, healthier place.
One major factor to consider is workplace stress. While different people react differently to stress in the workplace, oftentimes stress can manifest itself in physical or mental health issues.
The rates of self-reported work-related stress has grown since previous years in the UK. According to the Health and Safety Executive, between 2019-20 it was estimated that 17.9 million work days were lost due to workplace stress. Prioritise your employees’ mental health to help combat workplace stress in your organisation.
WHAT MAKES A COMPANY?
When employees don’t like coming to work, their first instinct is likely to leave as soon as possible so they can do something else they enjoy, whether that’s at home or somewhere else.
In other words, when an organisation doesn’t have a solid track record of creating productive environments, chances are its current state is only temporary because its employees either won’t stick around for very long or will perform below their potential once they do.
On the flip side, employees who are passionate about coming to work every day will probably be happier with what they’re doing, and therefore more willing to give it their all every time they get ready for work.
IMPROVIng EMPLOYEES’ PSYCHOLOGICAL WELLBEING
There are a lot of things that employers can do to boost the psychological wellbeing of their workers. One way is by empowering your staff members. Don’t just tell them what you want done; give them an opportunity to participate in decision-making or problem-solving.
Another idea is for employers to implement workplace wellness programmes if they don’t already have one. These programmes might include free massages, yoga classes, or fitness workshops.
Not only will these benefits improve the psychological wellbeing of employees, but studies show that engagement is also improved when companies provide opportunities for fitness and encourage their employees to be healthy, which may lead to improved job performance.
Company morale is another aspect to consider. One of the best ways that employers can improve this measure is by ensuring that they address any issues or concerns that employees may have, no matter how small, and giving them a chance to voice their opinions.
In short, companies should ensure that employees are happy at work, and also make sure to avoid a situation where their employees are happier somewhere else. Try to improve the wellbeing of your employees by following the six strategies below.
1. Establish clear goals
Define where your team is going and help them map out a plan to get there. Listen to their ideas and initiatives, and ask for their input on the best ways to achieve those goals.
2. Provide challenge and support
Give your employees enough to do, and then help them accomplish it. Set clear objectives and give employees the authority to set their own deadlines. Check in with them frequently throughout the process to make sure they feel supported and challenged, but not overwhelmed.
When an organisation places a particularly high demand on its employees’ time, it’s important to offer mental health support to help them cope with stress.
Encouraging your employees to take care of themselves using company resources is one way you can do this; another option would be allowing flexible work hours during particularly busy periods, like the end of the financial year.
3. Promote transparency
Establish an open-door policy within your organisation where no topic is off limits, and encourage employees at all levels to discuss issues that affect them. You can also try implementing a whistleblowing channel to help employees feel confident they can report problems anonymously, as needed. Afterall you can’t address the issue(s) or offer help and support unless you know what’s troubling them.
4. Encourage employees to work together
As an employer, try to foster a team-like atmosphere by encouraging your workers to get along with each other. Put an emphasis on teamwork so staff members view their coworkers as allies rather than competitors.
Be inclusive and encouraging. Collaboration is key to successfully accomplishing works tasks together, but employees don’t always know how to work well with each other. Don’t just tell them they have to collaborate or how they should go about it, give them a platform for communication and help facilitate a few collaboration sessions throughout the year.
And, if possible, find a way to minimise any existing work-related tensions or conflicts because while some positivity at work is great, too much negativity will eventually have the opposite effect on people’s engagement and morale. Seriously consider offering training sessions on diversity, sexual harassment, and mental health awareness to help educate employees and build awareness about the appropriate professional behaviour at work.
5. Remain flexible
Plans may suddenly change and employees will need to work in a different way than expected. But this should be fine and is in fact encouraged, so long as everyone works together in the best way they can at the time.
If you’re not easily adaptable, people will move on and find other jobs that are more accommodative of their needs. That doesn’t mean you should leave your employees to their own devices without guidance, but you should be open to adjusting workflows or schedules as needed.
6. Reward and acknowledge achievement
Offering employees rewards for their work encourages them to be more productive and dedicated. Don’t just hand out rewards because it’s Friday – recognise and acknowledge when employees have worked hard, solved a problem, or achieved something significant.
Giving meaningful thankyous can increase employee happiness in big ways. Noticing your employees’ hard work can help them feel satisfied in their career and boost their mental health.
REMOVING THE STIGMA AROUND MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
Allowing your employees to feel like they can take time off work for wellbeing reasons will reduce the stigma surrounding them, and make it easier to seek help. Let them know that if they need personal time off, that it’s normal and understandable, and that you’ll cover for them while they’re away.
If an employee is struggling with depression or anxiety, don’t be afraid to show your support by asking how you can help. After all, everyone has mental health issues, just like physical health issues – they aren’t a weakness
Author: Gabby Baglino – Digital Marketing Specialist at Vispato