Creating a mentally healthy workplace requires the participation of all employees in an organisation. Although policies and procedures are driven from the top, bringing them to life requires the involvement and commitment of all staff across the organisation.
Organisational level strategies
At an organisational level the University has various strategies in place to:
- recognise the needs of those who are currently well by offering opportunities for education and skills development;
- support those at risk of developing a mental health issue or illness through the timely use of education and support strategies; and
- assist those who are experiencing a mental health issue or illness as well as those who are supporting students, colleagues and/or peers experiencing a mental health issue or illness.
Individual level strategies
All UWA staff are encouraged to take proactive steps to contribute to making the University a mentally healthy workplace, for themselves and for others. Steps all staff members can take include:
Find out more about taking care of yourself at work from the Heads Up website.
Leaders and managers can take some additional steps:
- Promote UWA policies and procedures relating to health and safety, and appropriate conduct to ensure they are understood by your team
- Encourage employees to look after their own health.This may involve making use of the Employee Assistance Program offered to all staff and participating in elements of the Staff Health & Wellbeing Program offered by UWA.
- Be a positive role model - modelling actions that promote mental health at work and appropriate language
- Be approachable and available to communicate
- Recognise (and where appropriate reward) positive efforts/outcomes
- Provide feedback on performance
- Understand sources of work-related stress
- Undertake personal development to enhance your leadership and management skills.
- Attend Mental Illness for Managers and Supervisors in the Workplace training to gain an overview of strategies and suggestions on how to best deal with mental health issues that may arise in the workplace.
Sources of work-related stress
Prevention and management of workplace stress is important in maintaining a mentally healthy workplace. The Health Services Executive UK have identified six primary sources of work-related stress:
1. Demands : workload, work patterns and environment
- The organisation provides employees with adequate and achievable demands in relation to the agreed hours of work
- People’s skills and abilities are matched to the job demands
- Jobs are designed within the capabilities of the employees; and
- Employees concerns about their work environment are addressed.
2. Control : how much say the person has in the way they do their work
- Where possible, employees have control over their pace of work
- Employees are encouraged to use their skills and initiative to complete their work
- Where possible, employees are encouraged to develop new skills to help them undertake new and challenging work
- Employees have a say over when breaks are taken
- Employees are consulted over their work patterns.
3. Support : encouragement, sponsorship and resources provided by the organisation, management & colleagues
- The organisation has policies and procedures to adequately support employees
- Systems are in place to enable and encourage managers to support their staff
- Systems are in place to enable and encourage employees to support their colleagues
- Employees know what support is available, and how and when to access it
- Employees know how to access the required resources to do their job
- Employees receive regular and constructive feedback.
4. Relationships : promoting positive working to avoid conflict; and dealing with unacceptable behaviour
- The organisation promotes positive behaviours at work to avoid conflict and ensure fairness
- Employees share information relevant to their work
- The organisation has agreed policies and procedures to prevent or resolve unacceptable behaviour
- Systems are in place to enable and encourage managers to deal with unacceptable behaviours
- Systems are in place to enable employees to report unacceptable behaviour.
5. Role : whether people understand their role in the organisation and whether the organisation ensures that they do not have conflicting roles
- The organisation ensures that, as far as possible, the different requirements it places on employees are compatible and clear to the employees
- The organisation provides information to enable the employee to understand their role and responsibilities
- Systems are in place to enable employees to raise concerns about any uncertainties or conflicts they have in their role and responsibilities.
6. Change : how organisational change is managed and communicated
- The organisation provides employees with timely information to enable them to understand the reasons for the proposed changes
- The organisation ensures adequate employee consultation on changes and provides opportunities for employees to influence proposals
- Employees are aware of the probable impacts of any changes to their jobs. If necessary, employees are given training to support those changes to their jobs
- Employees are aware of timetables related to changes
- Employees have access to relevant support during the changes.