Better Mental Health at Work: We’re in this Together!

Stress is the second most common cause of workplace compensation claims in Australia, after manual handling. And it’s that time of year when people might be feeling the pressure of juggling end of financial year workplace requirements with school holiday routine adjustments and the winter blues.

None of us are immune to stress of some kind in our lives, at some point. We need to invest the time and energy now, so that when we are faced with unexpected pressures, we have options in how to manage our lives both at work and at home.

Here are five great resources to support better mental health at work, which flows into benefitting our daily lives:

1. Create interactive, connected workplaces

Writing for Harvard Business Review, Emma Seppala, Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education tells us that research ‘shows that our greatest need after food and shelter is social connection — positive social relationships with others. If we create work environments characterized by these kinds of positive and supportive interactions, we create organizations that thrive.’

This important article points to a study that shows employees ‘prefer a happier workplace to a fatter paycheck.’

2. Take a real holiday from work

Organisatioal Psychologist, Charmaine Bourke, offers tangible ways to ensure we take our holidays in The Benefits of Taking a Real Holiday from Work. Focusing on executives, this information is useful for everyone. You will also find tips on how to manage accrued workload on returning from holidays.

3. Manage your energy not your time

This article, calling workplaces and individuals to play a role in better workplace mental health practices, has something for everyone.

Tony Schwarz and Catherine McCarthy’s state ‘to effectively reenergize their workforces, organisations need to shift their emphasis from getting more out of people to investing more in them, so they are motivated—and able—to bring more of themselves to work every day.’

It also puts the onus on the individual to recognise and change any of their own energy-depleting behaviours.

4. Employers: Preventing and managing work related stress

It’s essential that our workplaces take on their responsibility for the wellbeing of employees. With tools like Worksafe Victoria’s guide to preventing and managing work related stress, there is no longer any excuse not to address work related stress. This Mental Health in the Workplace guide can be adapted to suit most Australian workplaces.

5. Mindfulness for adults

Research tells us that mindfulness training has positive health benefits. Some workplace leaders commence meetings with 1 minute of silence to assist with quieting the mind and increasing focus. If that’s not your style, then Smiling Mind provides mindful meditations for adults, which you can listen to any time. You can trial a session of adult mindfulness at smilingmind.

Choose one of the above, read and digest. Then determine what action you can take to improve your workplace for yourself, and therefore those around you.