Protecting and improving the mental health and wellbeing of your employees isn’t only in their best interests. A healthy team means a healthy business.

If you’re an employee, you have a right to a safe workplace but you also have a responsibility to take care of yourself and “cooperate with your employer in matters of health and safety” while you are at work.

In this article, we take a look at some of the numerous positive impacts of a workplace that is founded on, or guided by, the wellbeing of all staff and which willingly adapts to their changing needs and society’s understanding of those.

Mental health awareness in the workplace benefits you, as a business manager or leader, your staff and customers, the business’ bottom line, and even the wider community. It’s a win-win-win, for everyone.

Employees are people, both in and out of the workplace

Every employee is on a personal journey of his or her own. What drives them will evolve over the course of their careers as their circumstances and life stages change, and it’s important that workplaces recognise this.

The Harvard Business Review has reported that “9 out of 10 people are willing to earn less money to do more meaningful work.” Indeed, feeling as though their managers are engaged with what drives them, and that they are trusted (to work productively and in the best interests of the business, for example) is immensely powerful; and a business that is prepared to provide and adapt work to support staff as individuals, even more so.

In his research into the causes of anxiety and depression, British author, Jonathan Hari, describes the “loss of connection to meaningful work” as one of the key social causes driving skyrocketing mental health diagnoses in the US. Contributing factors he identifies include:

  • Lack of control or agency over the type or volume of work being performed
  • Lack of feedback, good or bad, which can lead to disengagement
  • Lack of discretion, or a genuine understanding of why x or y task is important
  • Lack of ability to make a difference – am I making a real difference in people’s lives?

Everyone in your team should have a ‘voice’ and feel heard. Staff – especially young staff – should feel safe to express their honest views, even if those views differ from others’, because they know their expression and feedback is valued.

The client is king!

Without your customers or clients there is no business. Even a VC-funded company will run out of cash eventually without customers. But how well does your business model actually support their needs?

A happy and engaged workplace equals a more productive workplace, which means more drive to deliver outstanding products or services to your customers or clients. So, if the health and wellbeing of your staff is paramount, it will naturally enable you and your staff to provide a more innovative, collaborative, holistic service to your client base.

Working together to grow the business

If a happy employee helps produce happy clients who are more engaged with your business, your revenue will increase, and increased revenue is the gateway to business growth. But it’s not as simple as it sounds; business growth starts with culture.

Company culture exists whether or not it’s defined, and a culture of collaboration is exceedingly powerful. “When you create a culture of serving people, your employees follow suit. Engineers help the sales team. Product developers listen to client service and account managers. Teammates work together with kindness, compassion, and, above all, respect.”

So exactly how much is meaningful work for employees actually worth to your business? According to the Harvard Business Review study mentioned above, employees with meaningful work spend more time working and take fewer sick and leave days every year. In fact, “[b]ased on established job satisfaction-to-productivity ratios, [they were able to] estimate that highly meaningful work will generate an additional $9,078 per worker, per year.”

Satisfied clients are also your most powerful reputation – and brand – builders. They leave reviews. Prospective clients read reviews. Word of mouth travels fast and can be the key source of new business for many organisations.

The benefits of volunteering – for everyone

The health benefits to individuals of community service and volunteering have been widely documented, including enhancing social skills, counteracting the effects of stress and anxiety, combating depression, and increasing self-confidence.

Volunteering can also teach you valuable professional skills or give you an opportunity to experience a new career or contribute your skills to others in your industry or wider community. At PB, for example, we’re committed to supporting our community in a variety of ways, such as mentoring  law students and attending key industry events and forums that promote the spirit of collaboration across the legal industry.

We’ve also developed and implemented a specific Volunteering Policy to support staff to pursue opportunities to use their skills to assist not-for-profit and other community organisations.

More broadly, as business leaders, we need to work together to bring discussions around workplace mental health and wellbeing to the forefront of people’s minds, which really does help to reduce stigma.

At PB, as lawyers, we’re constantly balancing being responsive and meeting our client’s needs (and deadlines) with ensuring we also maintain our commitment to ensuring our team’s professional fulfilment, and their personal wellbeing and happiness.

We’d love to see more workplaces being driven by the emotional, mental, and professional well-being of the entire team. The benefits are clear; a focused and empowered management enables staff to deliver exceptional service to our clients, and everyone – including the business –reaps the rewards in the long-term.

There are lots of resources available to assist you in understanding and improving your company’s awareness and management of, and care for, the health and wellbeing of everyone in your workplace. Below are some key organisations, though each state also provides local resources you can access to help build and support a healthy team.

Heads Up: https://www.headsup.org.au/
SafeWork: https://www.safework.nsw.gov.au/safety-starts-here
Beyond Blue: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/
Black Dog Institute: http://www.blackdoginstitute.org.au

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Products & Services

Legal
Consulting

1300 774 788
service@peripheralblue.com.au

Suite 17, 116-120 Melbourne St, Nth Adelaide, SA 5006

© 2019 Peripheral Blue | All Rights Reserved
ABN 61855198272

 Privacy Policy Terms & Conditions