From TJ Magazine: The healthy workplace

Written by Karen Meager and John McLachlan on 6 February 2019 in Features
Features

In the second of a series of articles on mental health, Karen Meager and John McLachlan explore how to create a healthy working environment.

Reading time: 4 minutes.

When leaders seek to create a healthy working environment for their employees, often the focus will be on improving physical wellbeing, such as using office furniture that supports the body effectively or
encouraging the use of laptop/screen stands to prevent neck pain.

However, it is crucial that leaders seek to create a working environment that also takes care of the mental health of employees. When staff work in a healthy and positive environment they are more productive, as well as being happier.

Without a healthy working environment, employees could fall victim to feelings of excessive pressure and stress which will hinder office productivity, as well as seriously damaging the wellbeing of the individual.

To create the healthiest working environment possible, the behaviour of both leaders and staff should be held to the same standard.

There are many things leaders and managers can do to promote the healthiest and most positive working environment possible, which do not require excessive funds or diversion from current practice. 

Act how you would like others to act

Often, leaders will shy away from taking responsibility. If they see employees sitting around chatting as opposed to working then they will place all blame for these actions with those employees. However, many leaders will exhibit the same behaviours themselves but not view these as negatively impacting the office culture. In reality, it is crucial that leaders act how they wish their employees to act. 

To create the healthiest working environment possible, the behaviour of both leaders and staff should be held to the same standard. If leaders do not practice what they preach, employees will be much less inclined to follow the guidelines.

Encourage collaboration

To give a working environment the best chance of having a positive impact, it is crucial that it is emphasised by leaders that the staff also play an integral role in creating positivity. Leaders do play a key role in setting the tone for behaviour, but it is also important that all other members of staff are incorporated into this positive atmosphere.

 

By encouraging collaboration, not only will all members of the team feel valued but it becomes infinitely easier to spot someone who may be suffering.

To identify a member of the team with a mental health concern, their current behaviour should be compared to their past, more positive behaviour; if the office culture is one which encourages collaboration, those who are acting differently can be pinpointed and can be offered further support.

In addition, collaborative working could also be the key to moving closer towards your business goals. The most innovative new solutions can often arise when people get together to bounce ideas off each other, as someone outside of the problem could present something others never thought of.

This is an excerpt from TJ's February Magazine. To subscribe to all TJ's premium content, click here

Leaders are a key part of creating a healthy office culture, but it must be remembered that employees are the backbone of the organisation and should also play a key role in creating and maintaining a positive culture for all. 

Say goodbye to long-hours culture

One of the biggest drains on creating a healthy office culture is the promotion of long working hours and commitment to continually working outside of contracted time. When an office environment is established that makes employees feel guilty for not staying late every day, the chance of encountering stress rises as automatically as more pressure is placed upon that individual to show more ‘commitment’.

 

About the author

Karen Meager and John McLachlan are co-founders of Monkey Puzzle Training

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