Creating a mentally healthy small business
As the largest employment sector in Australia, small businesses are likely to encounter mental health issues in their workplace at some point. Unlike larger organisations, few small businesses have a dedicated HR function or the resources to develop their own mental health programs and policies.
Here are some tips to draw from:
Improve your understanding of anxiety and depression. This is an important first step, both to take care of yourself and be able to spot if one of your staff might be struggling. As many small business owners work alongside their team, they’re in a great position to pick up on behavioural or emotional changes.
Learn about employee and employer rights and responsibilities. Both employers and employees have formal rights and responsibilities under discrimination, privacy, and work health and safety legislation.
Provide information to staff. Make available free mental health resources in the workplace developed by beyondblue (e.g. place resources in lunch areas or on notice boards).
Communicate with your employees. Speak openly about mental health, and get your team’s feedback about initiatives they’d like to see implemented in the workplace.
Find a network. Learning what’s worked for other small business owners in creating a mentally healthy workplace is a great place to start. Check out what’s happening in your area through a local chamber of commerce, a professional or trade association, or the Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia.