Managing workplace wellbeing is often reactionary. Usually, things have to reach a certain point of discomfort or even crisis before businesses take steps to resolve long-standing issues.
A proactive culture is essential in the modern workspace. But what exactly would this look like? Here we take a bit of a deep dive on 3 approaches to workplace culture that foreground positive environments.
Take morale seriously
If you're reading this, you probably already feel that employee morale ought to be taken more seriously.
In fact, 91% of Australian employees think that mental health is important in the workplace. However, only 52% of employees believe that their workplace is mentally healthy.
Heads Up, the organisation committed to tackling mental health in the workplace, state that ‘commitment from senior organisational leaders’ is key in addressing mental wellbeing in the workplace. You need to lead the charge if you want workplace culture to shift.
It is not enough to just state the issue; getting your employees involved proactively is key. Having ongoing and open conversations around wellbeing is crucial to improvement.
The UK Office for National Statistics have shown that 44% of office related stress and other negatives comes from work load. Being able to manage the workflow should therefore be a priority when it comes to creating healthier working environments.
Here at Sense we do this by empowering individuals. Our Head of Projects, Karen Arkell approaches her role through this prism of empowerment by working to support the team in their decisions, rather than micromanaging their work for them. We ensure that our communication is open and we’re transparent across the team in order to support each other.
Workplace culture often puts a premium on overtime, early starts, or finishing work at home. But it’s important to consider why your employees feel the need to do so. Is it because they enjoy their work and are striving to prove themselves? Or are they under pressure to complete tasks without the necessary support?
If you have restrictions on human or financial capital - who doesn’t? - technology may be able to help here. It’s worth considering acquiring systems that increase efficiency for communication, project, and time management, something we have explored previously.
This is arguably the most important approach. Fostering an open working environment where people feel comfortable talking about issues in and out of the workplace is key.
In practice, both big and small gestures can be made that will go a long way to building trust and it is important to be proactive in this regard.
Employers may want to provide employees with free access to the meditation app Headspace, conduct anonymous surveys of staff wellbeing (and action that feedback), or easy access to mental health information and counselling services.
Building trust can also be as simple as cc’ing employees in on emails that pertain to their work, even if the conversation doesn't need to include them.
Doing so demonstrates your commitment to greater transparency and will provide a sense of ownership and control for those who have been brought into the decision making process.
The great workplace culture shift
The way workplace culture is treated at an organisation is increasingly becoming an important factor in job selection. You won’t be able to attract the best and brightest without addressing this.
This trend is only set to rise, with Millenials and Gen Z reporting mental health as the most important factor in workplace culture for them. This group is the largest work demographic and over 75% of them report having left roles due to mental health concerns.
By incorporating these approaches into your workplace you will begin to see not only an increase in productivity and a reduction in sick leave but also an empowered workforce who feel cared for and personally engaged in your company. That’s a win for you and for them.