Mental health in the workplace

Because Canadians spend much of their waking hours at work, promoting good mental health in the workplace is important. Learn how promoting mental health at work can benefit you and how to promote it in the workplace.

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Why promoting mental health at work is important

Promoting mental health in the workplace can benefit both employers and employees by improving:

  • productivity
  • mood
  • employee satisfaction
  • staff retention
  • teamwork

Promoting mental health also makes economic sense because it decreases:

  • short- or long-term medical leave due to physical or mental illness brought on by workplace conditions
  • the need to replace staff
  • workplace injuries and accidents caused by the inability to focus due to stress and other mental concerns
  • rates of missed work due to:
    • stress
    • exhaustion
    • depression
  • the inability to successfully complete work

How you can help promote mental health in the workplace

Promoting mental health in the workplace for employers includes the following.

  • Be clear about tasks and work responsibilities.
    • Make sure job descriptions are current, clear and specific.
    • Discuss with employees how their work contributes to the organization.
  • Assign manageable workloads.
    • Ask employees for input on how to better organize work to meet deadlines.
    • Work with employees to develop realistic project goals and work plans.
  • Provide opportunities to learn and grow professionally.
    • Support development of interpersonal, emotional and job skills.
    • Create a mentor program that links new employees to experienced ones to nurture an environment of professional support.
    • Post jobs internally first.
  • Have conflict and dispute resolution practices in place.
    • Use a problem-solving method that will:
      • explore the issue from everyone's perspective
      • understand the concerns of all parties
      • develop different options
      • choose a solution that works for everyone
      • carry out the solution
      • evaluate outcomes to see if they were successful
  • Involve employees in decision-making.
    • Discuss how their work fits into the decision-making process.
    • Give employees an opportunity to provide input and receive feedback.
  • Recognize employee work achievements in a fair and timely manner.
    • Reward a team that works well together.
    • Celebrate important workplace anniversaries.
    • Make sure employees eat when they have to work overtime.
    • Host activities for all employees like a summer barbecue.
  • Offer flexible work arrangements.

Promoting mental health in the workplace for employees includes the following.

  • Take opportunities to learn when possible.
    • Participate in a company mentor program.
    • Register for professional development workshops or courses supported by your organization.
  • Have conflict and dispute resolution practices in place.
    • Request a meeting with your supervisor or human resources to solve growing conflicts.
    • Use the counselling and support services offered by your employer. Your human resources department can tell you if there is an employee assistance program available.
  • Balance work and personal life.
    • Learn about company policies that can help you to:
      • fill childcare needs during school breaks
      • use telecommuting options to work from home if you need to care for aging parents or sick children
      • remain accountable for your work if you cannot spend a full day in the office by working mornings or evenings from home

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