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4 ways to build a mentally healthy workplace

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With more Singaporean employees becoming increasingly stressed, building a corporate culture which is friendly and supportive has become a key concern for many local HR leaders.

But this issue gains even more precedence when one considers the direct impact such a culture has on a company’s talent attraction and retention rates.

According to the Instinct and Reason survey conducted by beyondblue, a mentally healthy workplace was the second most important factor (14%) in employees’ decision to accept a new position, beaten only by workers’ pay levels (31%).

The report defined a mentally healthy workplace as “one that is considered friendly and supportive, promotes a positive workplace culture, minimises workplace risks related to mental health, supports people with mental health conditions appropriately and prevents discrimination.”

Canvassing 1,025 Australian employees, the report also found a mentally healthy workplace makes an employee more committed to their job (60%) and less likely to seek other employment (68%).

Close to four out of 10, (37%) of employees also said a mentally healthy workplace had encouraged them to stay longer in a job than they would have otherwise.

Conversely, 45% of employees stated they had left a workplace because it had a poor environment in terms of mental health.

In light of these findings, the report highlighted four main processes organisations can put in place to build a corporate environment which is mentally healthy. Based on these suggestions, we’ve expanded on them to help you better provide a mentally healthy workplace for staff.

1. Developing positive mental health policies and communicating them through to every level of the business.

With the report stating a mentally healthy office is more important to employees than even recognition and the ability to discuss things openly, it is clear that employees greatly value how they can be less stressed at work.

Informing employees across the board about the various ways to develop good mental health in the company is therefore an effective way for them to grapple with these problems and make them feel supported.

2. Training should be provided for staff and managers to help them deal appropriately with mental health issues in the workplace.

This suggestion remains critical, especially because managers are often the first point of contact employees refer to when facing problems at work.

If managers and senior staff are given the appropriate training and tools to handle mental health problems effectively, not only will they be able to deal with their own mental health issues, but also be able to help their subordinates maintain and boost productivity rates.

3. Managers and HR areas should show that they are committed to promoting the mental health of staff and create a culture to support this.

It is important for managers and HR leaders to not only implement mental health policies in place but also remain dedicated to improving them and maintaining them over a long period of time.

This ensures employees their organisation is continuously devoted to making them feel as comfortable as possible and is always there to help them.

4. Employers should actively identify threats to mental health in the workplace and work with staff to address these.

Combining thought with action is the best way of effectively carrying out any policies in place, and this recommendation is a good example of how bosses can actively work to eradicate issues promoting mental stress in the workplace.

Image: Shutterstock

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