Last week, we discussed the benefits of Mental Health First Aid. We want to continue our exploration of mental health by discussing what you can do to reduce stress in your workplace.
Stress plays a serious role in your overall mental health. It is also a common fixture throughout the workplace. While you will never be able to create a workplace completely free of it, there are ways to cut down on unnecessary stress.
The following are five areas on which your organization can focus to foster a safe and thriving workplace.
If COVID-19 has taught businesses anything, it is the importance of communication in difficult times. We’ve previously discussed communicating during a pandemic, but effective communication should be practiced during all times of change in your workplace.
Whether it is company-wide shifts or individual role changes, your workers should always know how they fit into the larger picture. They should also know who they can turn to for guidance and answers.
Differences between coworkers are inevitable. We typically spend around 38 hours every week solving problems and meeting deadlines around the same cast of colleagues. With that shared time comes friction.
If left unaddressed, minor disputes between colleagues can snowball into outright animosity. This can breed a stressful and toxic workplace culture that threatens to pull even more people in.
Every supervisor should have conflict resolution skills as part of their toolkit. Being able to identify, diffuse and resolve these tensions in a respectful way can save your team hours of unnecessary headaches and turnover.
LinkedIn Learning and Coursera, both excellent online learning platforms, have courses on conflict resolution if you are looking for an easy-to-use training source.
Peer mentoring is a powerful tool for any organization. If you have workers who take initiative in showing newer workers “the ropes” in a constructive way, make sure you empower them. By fostering mentor/mentee relationships throughout your organization, you can create a much larger support system for newer workers who may feel too intimidated to seek guidance on their own.
On a basic level, you can simply recognize and reward workers who go out of their way to provide guidance to their coworkers. Awards and letters of thanks can go a long way to reinforce positive mentoring habits.
If you would like to take a more structured approach, consider establishing a formal mentorship program. Decide what your standards are for mentorship should be and what reward system you will have in place for workers who show the initiative.
Access to Resources
So far, we have looked at more general approaches you can take to improve your company’s culture and reduce stress. No matter how much work you put into your culture, however, you can not meet every mental health need in your workers’ lives. This is where awareness and resources come into play.
Make sure that mental health awareness is a part of your employee onboarding. Keep your workplace’s Violence and Harassment policies up to date and affirm your commitment to promoting a psychologically safe work environment.
Access to Resources
Hand in hand with awareness should come resources for your workers. Take stock of what your workplace offers. Do you have an Employee Assistance Program, trained mental health first aid attendants or a list of community resources for mental health? Make sure information on all these resources are clearly posted in a common area and encourage your workers to avail themselves of these resources.