Six ways to create a mentally healthy workplace

By Paul Flanagan, FBG Group

Good mental health of your staff is good for business. In fact, as Jennifer Westacott, CEO of BCA says “having a healthy workforce is fundamental to the success of any business…”  A recent report shows that every dollar spent on effective mental health actions returns $2.30 in benefits to the organisation (PwC/beyondblue/NHMC, 2014).

And the good news is that employers should feel empowered to make changes within their Workplace to make them more mentally healthy. A recently released report gives Australian business owners and leaders new ways to support employees and reduce the economic risks of mental ill health. Implementing these actions will help to reduce the estimated annual cost of $11 billion to Australian businesses through absenteeism, reduced work performance, increased turnover and compensation claims.

Six Strategies are needed at the Individual, Team and Organisational level:

  1. Build better Work Cultures – it’s not just about ‘results’
  1. Design Smarter Work- encourage empowerment
  1. Build Resilience among staff – personal development often trumps technical skill development
  1. Intervene Early when issues arise – take an interest, have support resources to connect people with
  1. Support Recovery – be flexible, without the need to ‘know all about it’
  1. Increase Awareness- show your interest in people and community issues.

In short, “businesses that invest in mental health are also more productive, innovative and likely to recruit the best and brightest people”- (Prof Alan Fels, Chair, National Mental Health Commission).

Reference: “Creating Mentally Healthy Workplaces; A Review of the Research”, 2015, Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance/ Heads Up/beyondblue

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