Positive Culture

Information taken from BITC – Mental Health toolkit

Set up the culture

A workplace environment and working culture that promotes wellbeing can reduce the risk of mental health problems. This is reinforced by cultivating an open, supportive organisation where people understand the importance of wellbeing and feel able to talk about physical and mental health.

Many of the factors that support workplace wellbeing are simply good management practices, including:

  • Actively and transparently engaging and communicating with employees
  • Preventing bullying and discrimination
  • Ensuring your staff can use their skills and perform their work to the best of their abilities
  • Preventing bullying and discrimination

Work overload, job insecurity, poor career progression, poor quality of work and poor communication all have a strong negative influence on employee mental health. Supportive supervision, whether from managers or co-workers, as well as positive interactions with customers/clients has positive benefits.

Action

Ensure you have effective and positive management standards in place. This includes:

  • Regular reviews – structured appraisal systems (as well as informal catchups) help you see if employees are happy in their job, to discuss any issues and determine what support they might need.
  • Setting objectives – having clearly defined goals, roles and responsibilities supports mental health and wellbeing. Employees should be involved in setting their own objectives.
  • Work hours – everyone needs a healthy work-life balance. Reasonable hours, agreed deadlines, offline time and flexible working can all reduce stress and boost wellbeing.

Encourage healthy behaviours

Simple steps like taking a lunch break, exercising (including going for a walk), getting enough sleep, taking time out to relax and eating a healthy balanced diet can help our mental health.

Health and wellbeing programmes, events, activities and awareness campaigns can all help make your staff happier and healthier. They can also help to build emotional resilience – which helps people deal with difficult or stressful situations both in and out of work. These initiatives are always most successful when senior management are involved, and act as role models.

Actions

Get physical:

  • Encourage walking and cycling to work
  • Organise sports events
  • Subsidise gym memberships (you may be able to negotiate something with your local gym so that it doesn’t cost your business)
  • Provide advice and information on sleep, sensible drinking and how to quit smoking
  • Encourage employees to take the One You quiz – see page 30 Be sociable:
  • Organise company events and activities, with or without a health element, to strengthen relationships between staff.

Give back:

  • There’s strong evidence that volunteering and being involved in the community is good for wellbeing and mental health. Encourage staff to volunteer year round, and consider taking part in BITC’s Give & Gain Day.

Provide a healthy environment:

  • Wellbeing can be influenced by factors such as:
  • Air quality • Lighting • Temperature • Noise • Layout • Food offer

Develop wellbeing activities:

  • Healthy eating (and look at food provision for meetings) • Activity classes
  • Talks from mental health professionals about prevention and getting support
  • Show videos about mental health • Organise wellbeing days • Piggyback on public awareness days • Take part in national physical exercise initiatives, such as Cycle to Work day

Improve financial wellbeing

  • With financial concerns affecting many of the workforce, employee benefits are an important part of good work.

Develop a knowledge resource for all employees:

  • Host all relevant free resources in one, easily accessible place for all employees (including web links to trusted sites) and regularly communicate this resource to your employees.