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Four signs your workplace is mentally unwell

Monday, March 14, 2016 - 14:29

Guest post by Jessica Klein at wattsnext

Workplace culture can impact the mental health and wellbeing of your employees. I don’t think that’s rocket science to most of us, but how do you know if your culture may be harming your employees?

Here are four warning signs to look out for according to Heads Up.

Warning Sign 1: Staff eat lunch at their desk.

I’d say I’ve definitely been guilty of eating lunch at my desk, but I’m glad to report it is a sporadic event. It’s important for staff to take a break away from their work stations and give them an opportunity to connect with their colleagues. If you notice your employees consistently have to eat lunch at their desk and work through their lunch break, there may be larger problems driving this behaviour.

Warning Sign 2: Employees are on call 24/7.

With the infiltration of laptops and mobiles, it can seem like employees are on call 24/7, particularly when managers are sending emails out at 3am, expecting an urgent response. When this pattern of behaviour is sustained over a long period of time, an employee’s productivity can drop. Consider scheduling your emails to go out at a reasonable time to avoid creating a perception that your employees need to be in work mode all the time.  

Warning Sign 3: Your employees don’t take their holiday leave.

Employees not going on holidays for fear of work building up while they’re away? Have a look at your employees’ leave accruals and see who needs a break.  There’s a reason we are provided with leave entitlements every year.  If employees have over eight weeks accrued, you might need to give them a friendly reminder and assist in organising adequate coverage while they’re gone.  Although not mentioned in the article, I would also add employees not taking sick leave when they are unwell and still coming into work. Mostly this just seems to lengthen recovery time and as a by-product usually others in the office become sick as well.         

Warning Sign 4: Employees don’t feel comfortable discussing workplace and mental health issues with Managers.

How open are your employees about what’s going on? How often do you provide opportunities to communicate openly with your employees? Try working in one-on-one meetings with your team members each week.  This time doesn’t have to be all about feelings, but it offers a perfect opportunity for employees to speak to their managers organically, rather than having to front up at the boss’ door. Create an environment where employees can openly put their hand up when they need help and in turn don’t judge others when they ask for help.  As Managers, we need to be aware of these behaviours and notice when they’re taking hold.

If you’re looking for more information on what you can do to improve health and wellbeing in your workplace, check out www.headsup.org.au or www.beyondblue.com.au.

As a Human Resources Coordinator at wattsnext, Jessica is a professional and highly personable individual. Always one to provide service with a smile, Jessica’s strong desire to treat each business as if it were her own lends her to an unparalleled level of customer service when teamed with her HR expertise.