How to improve mental health for you and your workplace in 2020

Feb 04, 2020

The new year provides a good opportunity for employees and managers to think about how mental health at work can be enhanced.

For many people, the beginning of a new year is a great chance for a fresh start, both personally and professionally. However, it can be tricky to decide what changes to make and even more so to implement them. 

Before making any plans, it’s worthwhile reflecting on the previous 12 months. What did you do to look after your wellbeing at work? Was it effective? If the answer is yes – great. That’s a solid foundation to build from. If the answer is no, it’s time to look at ways to achieve improved mental health in the workplace. And if you’re in a management position, it’s also a chance to look at how you can influence the mental health of others in a positive way. 

For employees

If you’re not sure about how to stay well at work, check out these strategies. They range from practical advice like using your holiday leave and limiting additional working hours to taking advantage of an EAP (Employee Assistance Program).

One easy way to get started is to set up a wellbeing plan. This allows you to put some key information down on paper regarding seven elements for achieving positive mental health at work. These include: 

  • Reasons for being at work
  • Triggers
  • Warning signs
  • Work habits
  • Creating a positive environment for others
  • Friends, family and colleagues you can talk to
  • Professional support

You can also try the K-10 checklist, a simple and confidential way to assess whether you have been affected by anxiety or depression in the last four weeks. 

What can you do to improve your mental health at work in 2020?

  • Make time for yourself – take your breaks and use your annual leave 
  • Leave work at the office – avoid taking work home if possible and limit additional hours
  • Create reasonable expectations – set realistic deadlines and schedule meetings within regular business hours

For managers

If you are in a position to influence how your workplace operates, it’s worth thinking about what contributes to a mentally healthy workplace. From prioritising mental health and work-life balance for employees, to workload management and employee development, your workplace should demonstrate nine key attributes

As a manager, you are well placed to play a part in the development of a workplace mental health strategy. When implemented, this can lead to an increase in productivity, staff engagement, recruitment and retention. 

Related articles:
The value of being open about mental health in the workplace 
How encouraging employees to take their annual leave can benefit your workplace


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