Are Australian workplaces moving towards an ideal state of mental health?

08 November 2017

Are Australian workplaces moving towards an ideal state of mental health?

The workplace provides an ideal setting to promote mental health and wellbeing. By promoting positive mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, all Australian workers are supported to thrive at work, whether they are experiencing mental health issues or not. Encouraging positive mental health is good for both the employee and the organisation.

 

Over halfway towards healthier workplaces

This year’s Indicators of a Thriving Workplace report highlights the national workplace mental health and wellbeing index score as 55 out of 100, suggesting that workers believe Australian workplaces are just over halfway towards optimal health and wellbeing.

SuperFriend CEO, Margo Lydon said that while leadership and connectedness were higher on the index, the report showed that businesses were lower on the index for demonstrating those indicators of optimal policies and practices, and capabilities and culture.

“Policies and practices are an integral part of creating a thriving workplace because they provide clear structures to promote mental health and wellbeing. Only half of employees are aware of any mental health and wellbeing policies in place at work,” said Margo.

 

Workplaces that prioritise mental health see positive outcomes across their business

Those businesses already implementing best practice for their employees were found to have 80% or more of the desired state indicators in place, which includes actively encouraging employees to identify ways to improve the workplace.

The most successful workplaces invest in mental health prevention through mental health and wellbeing training,
wellbeing policies, managerial training, and aligning mental health best practice with people management practices.

 

Leaders play a critical role

The report highlighted that leadership plays an important role in the promotion of mental health and wellbeing. The behaviours of managers and senior leaders are directly related to successful and effective teams and individuals.

“Importantly, these business leaders are setting good examples and creating a culture that enables workers to be happy, healthy and productive. They are leaders who are really listening to the needs of their staff,” said Margo.

“Employees want to see their employers actively taking an interest and getting involved in the policies being put into place. A quarter of workers believe that a lack of commitment at the top of the business and throughout management is a barrier to improving workplace mental health and wellbeing.

“Interestingly, business owners and workers in small businesses are more likely to rate the leadership in their workplace above the
national average. Employees and workers in large businesses tend
to rate the leadership in their workplace least favourably”.

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