We may expect employers to create a healthy working environment, but this is often a daunting task with many complex layers.
"It's how we communicate, how we treat each other, and how mindful we are about our actions and their effect on the people around us," says Deborah Connors, a leading Canadian workplace coach, speaker, and author. "There is overwhelming evidence that daily practices can improve positivity and resilience in individuals, teams and organizations. Such practices boost employee satisfaction, creativity, innovation, productivity, customer service, and customer satisfaction."
In advance of Mental Health Week, May 7-13, WSPS eNews asked Deborah for seven transformational practices that each of us could apply to improve our mental health and promote a healthy, productive work environment. Deborah drew her suggestions from her new book, A Better Place To Work: Daily Practices That Transform Culture1. In the book, Deborah captures decades of experience as the driving force behind the national Health Work & Wellness Conference, and as a CMHA certified psychological health and safety advisor.
Here's what she suggested:
- Increase your positive emotions. Practice gratitude by writing down three things you're grateful for every day. In team meetings, invite each person to share one thing they're grateful for. It releases stress, encourages positive thinking, and creates a sense of community.
- Be more mindful in your conversations, your listening, and your leadership practices.
- Take real breaks, even if it's only for a few minutes at a time. Allowing yourself frequent short breaks - a quick walk, a different type of task - will energize you and enable you to refocus.
- Move from a "vicious" cycle to a resilient cycle. Does this sound familiar? "When the going gets tough, I just put my head down and work harder and longer to get the job done." For short periods of time this might be okay, but for sustained periods this just makes you more tired and less effective. Instead, allow yourself time to meditate, exercise and sleep well. You'll feel better and do more in less time.
- Complete the Guarding Minds @ Work initial scan, a 6-item questionnaire that indicates how stressed or satisfied you are at work. It's easy, and the results can help you focus on ways to create a psychologically safer and healthier workplace for yourself2.
- Ask yourself transformational questions. For example, "What can I start doing on a daily basis that will help me achieve my goal?" Use transformational questions with your team to open up discussions.
- Transform your leadership style. Start by asking yourself, "Am I focused on solving problems or moving the company forward?"
How we can help
Explore mental health solutions and sessions at WSPS' Partners in Prevention Health & Safety Conference & Trade Show, May 1-2 in Mississauga.
Visit Thinkmentalhealth.ca, which provides a collection of free online resources to guide workplaces in developing a psychologically healthy workplace.
Speak to a WSPS Consultant: 1-877-494-WSPS (9777). We can help you:
- identify and eliminate workplace factors that may contribute to poor mental health,
- create an action plan and a process for achieving it,
- review and evaluate the plan, recognize success, and identify opportunities for improvement.
1Learn more about A Better Place To Work: Daily Practices That Transform Culture
2Guarding Minds at Work is a free, comprehensive set of resources that allow employers to assess and address the 13 psychosocial factors known to have a powerful impact on organizational health, the health of individual employees, and the financial bottom line.